Some fans and athletes have abused the power of social media with racist or offensive tweets, but others have been denied access to that power in the first place, writes Gordon MacMillan.

So much has already been written about how the London 2012 Games were the first 'social Olympics'. The phrase, with its implied human interactions, seems to capture some of the energy that sits at the heart of world's greatest sporting event.

The London Games, still far from over as we prepare to head into the Paralympics, have certainly proven to be the social Olympics that were promised, although they have been much more than that. They have acted as a testing ground for social media and given us the chance to see how it works on the biggest of canvases.

While there has been so much to praise and enjoy, from the speed of results on Twitter to wonderful pictures across the social web, there have also been several instances where various aspects of social have been found wanting, where it is not working or systems have failed completely.

First we had athletes tweeting abusive comments, with Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou expelled from the Games for sending a racist tweet. Next came Swiss footballer Michel Morganella, who was sent home for one insulting South Koreans.

Both had taken to Twitter, used the platform it gave them, abused that platform and paid the price.

Next up came @Rileyy_69, who sent a series of upsetting tweets to British athlete Tom Daley after he came fourth in the men's synchronised 10m diving competition. The teenage tweeter was quickly traced and arrested by Dorset police. For a time it looked like we could be looking at another Twitter Joke Trial, but the police opted to caution @Rileyy_69 and the world moved on.

Independent journalist Guy Adams ill-advisedly tweeted the work email address of an NBC executive as the US broadcaster struggled under a weight of criticism of its Olympics coverage. Twitter, like the police, overreacted, suspending Adams' account. It was later reinstated and the episode appears to have been a storm in a tea cup, even if there was blame on both sides.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?