Americans Follow Olympics on TV Far More Than Social Media
The 2012 Olympics were billed as the first social media Olympics, but the hoopla surrounding tweets and Facebook followers has largely died down. Even the commentators have stopped including an athlete's number of Twitter followers or Facebook fans as coverage focuses on the competition.
Compared to a big-screen HDTV, a short string of 140 characters on Twitter cannot convey the action. But at the start of this year's games, Twitter users made lots of noise — and got lots of attention. They brought what they perceived as NBC's shortcomings to national attention by using hashtag #nbcfail. Was this all just the "squeaky wheel" effect, magnified by a social-media primed press?
For the most part, yes. According to a Pew Research poll of 1,005 U.S. adults, more than three-fourths described NBC's coverage as excellent (29 percent) or good (47 percent), and only 5 percent said coverage was poor.
Overall, nearly eight-in-ten are following the Olympics either on TV, online or through social media, but TV prevails by a wide margin.
"Television remains far-and-away the leading platform for Olympic coverage," Pew's report said. Of those tuning in, 73 percent say they have watched coverage on television, 17 percent have watched online and only 12 percent said they have followed Olympic coverage on social networking sites."
Pew concluded that following Olympic coverage online and on social networks appears to be a supplement rather than a replacement for television viewing.