Twitter Breaks the Cycle
Today in international tech news: Twitter traffic gets the blame for Olympic cyclists’ transmitters not sending signals, which forced one TV commentator to use his watch to estimate times. Also, Bloomberg is still in Internet timeout over its report on a Chinese politician’s wealth; Korea is hit with anther round of hacking; Google admits to hoarding info in the UK, and more.
Olympic spectators using Twitter disrupted TV coverage of last weekend’s cycling road races, organizers told The Guardian.
During broadcasts, television viewers were not given information about timing and positions of the racers. The International Olympic Committee said that fans who were using Twitter disrupted the transmission of race information, forcing BBC commentator Chris Boardman to use his watch to estimate times.
Information is typically sent from competitors’ bikes to organizers via small GPS transmitters on their bikes.
IOC communications director Mark Adams said that one of the networks designed to transmit information had become “oversubscribed.” He stopped short of telling spectators to quit tweeting, but did suggest, in the softest of tones, that people only send urgent updates.
London 2012 had billed itself as the “first social media Olympics,” and while that may be true, there have been some social media snafus. There has been some speculation that Twitter crashed last Thursday because of an excess of Olympic-related traffic, while rehearsal footage of the opening ceremony also found its way to YouTube prior to the big show — directly contradicting the ceremony director’s plea to “#savethesurprise.”