Mon, September 23, 2013

Tilleyvision: #NBCfail keeps on growing

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency



I was rolling my eyes at the "Twitter Olympics" moniker applied to these London 2012 Games before they even began. Partly because social media was already a force in both the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2010 Vancouver Games -- this Twitter thing ain't new, see -- but mainly because it's often used by people who don't quite grasp Twitter, and think it's cute and magical that athletes and fans can connect, 140 characters at a time.

But I might have to eat my words -- or at least unroll my eyes -- because some of the most interesting developments related to the coverage of London 2012 are indeed happening on Twitter. Journalists bashing broadcasters! Fans bashing athletes! Athletes bashing other athletes! People getting threatened, harassed and expelled, all because of what they're saying on Twitter!

What did we ever do in the age before anyone could say anything to everyone?

JOURNALIST TWEETS EMAIL OF NBC EXEC

First up is Guy Adams, a Los Angeles-based writer for U.K. news outlet The Independent. One of the many people ticked off at NBC for not airing the Olympic Opening Ceremony live, Adams tweeted NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel's email address to roughly 4,500 followers and encouraged them to express their displeasure to Zenkel.

NBC didn't like that and complained to Twitter representatives, who then locked Adams account. But once the Twittersphere got wind of the situation Monday, the whole thing blew up and copies of the tweet, with Zenkel's address, circulated far more widely than they otherwise would have. Whoops.

TWEET-LE DUMB

The "socialympics" (ugh, that is just far too precious) claimed another victim Monday when Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella got expelled from the Games after tweeting a threatening insult about South Koreans following a loss to that country's team. (He basically said they were mentally handicapped and he'd like to beat them up. Classy.)

The tweet was deleted, and so was Morganella - the Swiss coach sent him home, making him the second athlete to get booted from the Games for making racist remarks on Twitter, after Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou met a similar fate last week. Good riddance.

TWEET-LE DUMB PART 2

But the biggest Twitter drama of the day involves British diver Tom Daley, whose disappointing fourth-place finish in the men's synchronized 10-metre platform diving Monday prompted one pasty-faced young Brit with the handle @Rileyy_69 to tweet, "@TomDaley1994 you let your dad down i hope you know that."

Daley -- who lost his father to cancer last year -- retweeted the guy's remarks to his more than half a million followers, kicking off a twitter drama which was still raging as of Monday evening. First @Rileyy_69 apologized profusely, then he started whining about all the negative press he was getting. But then he went back on the attack, with gems such as "@TomDaley1994 i'm going to find you and i'm going to drown you in the pool you cocky (bad word) your a nobody people like you make me sick."

What disappoints me is this jackass would never have been noticed outside his own sad circle if Daley hadn't retweeted him. Agitators like @Rileyy_69 want attention -- the little dweeb's presence on social media prior to this brouhaha confirms that -- and by feeding the troll, people are giving him the satisfaction of being a gold medallist in idiocy.

Inanimate object tweet of the day: "For a moment there, I thought one of the cleaners was going to sit on me during his break. But he didn't *sigh*" says @OlympicSeat, an account broadcasting the disappointed thoughts of one of London 2012's many infamously empty spectator seats. With more than 14,000 Twitter followers, at least the seat is getting some love online.

steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @stevetilley