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Commentary: Twitter, not NBC best source for Olympic coverage

Courtesy of MCT

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The 2012 Olympics might be occurring in London, but the Twitter Olympics are trending worldwide. And whether it’s made for a #NBCfail or #Twitterfail is about as tough to tell as whether the United States or China is going to come out on top.

Sure, it’d be a nice courtesy if every tweet about what’s happening currently in London ended with #Olympicspoiler to give us a heads up that we’d know results before seeing the competition air later on primetime. But if every tweet hashtagged that, it’d be adhering to NBC’s lack of providing live Olympic coverage to the U.S.

Truthfully, I want to know what goes on in real time at the Olympics, whether that be through Twitter or aired live on NBC.

I suppose the latter would be more preferred rather than learning of results in 140 characters, but I can reason with NBC for having the inability to air every single event at once. That’s something I think people don’t take into consideration; there’s a slew of events occurring and overlapping in London and (unfortunately) only one network to air them in the U.S.

NBC attempts to compromise with viewers by offering live streaming for events. Twitter, however, is a live stream itself.

I, for one, was thrilled to find out in real time via Twitter that Michael Phelps became the most-decorated Olympian in history. And I was upset to see from a tweet that Jordyn Wieber didn’t qualify to compete in the all-around for women’s gymnastics. And I immediately jumped off the Ryan Lochte train after clicking on an article in my feed with a picture of him wearing a diamond-encrusted American flag grill after he won the 400-meter medley.

I prefer knowing results right when they happen. Twitter does that for me, not NBC.

It’s – for lack of a better word – neat to know I’m celebrating or disappointed for an Olympian at the same time their basking in a victory or wiping off tears, respectively. And even as Twitter and NBC have claimed to team up this Olympics, Twitter for sure has the upper hand in coverage.

Undoubtedly the world’s longest conversation board, Twitter has given Olympians and fans, including President Barack Obama, the opportunity to converse. The social media, however, is quite possibly the demise of NBC’s coverage altogether. Since the opening ceremony, Twitter has been a forum for slamming NBC’s tape-delayed coverage.

Then again, we can’t go without discrediting that what seems to be a blessing for Twitter users – their ability to converse with their idols and even vent to followers – has turned to a curse these Olympics.

Some athletes seem to have no problem airing out their dirty laundry in the Twittersphere. One being Swiss men’s soccer player Michel Morganella, who reportedly sent a racist tweet, calling Korean athletes “retards” and suggesting they “burn themselves,” according to an ABC report. Morganella has been expelled from the games, and his Twitter account has been deleted, according to the article.

Also, U.S. women’s soccer player Hope Solo trashed NBC soccer commentator Brandi Chastain via Twitter and according to news sources got somewhat of a slap on the wrist for it.

What surprises me most with these cases though is that it’s the adult athletes that seem to be throwing their hissy fits over Twitter, not the athletes younger than 18 who could blame adolescence. They seem to keep their composure.

I guess it shouldn’t be forgotten that the U.S. has the privilege of free speech whereas other countries don’t. Wouldn’t Twitter fall under that umbrella in the U.S.? What about when it’s exercised on a worldwide message board?

I say sure, but in some cases a bit of humility would be nice.

Los Angeles correspondent for The Independent Guy Adams’ Twitter account was suspended because he tweeted NBC’s Olympic president Gary Zenkel’s email address in complaint to the network delaying its coverage to the U.S.

British diver Tom Daley was harassed by a 17-year-old who tweeted at him that he disappointed his dad for finishing fourth in the 10-meter platform synchronized diving competition. Daley’s father died last year of cancer. The teenage Twitter troll was given a harassment warning.

Despite this unprofessional and harmful misuse of the social media, it’s not enough for me to quit relying on Twitter as the best source for Olympic results and news coverage.

Seriously, where would I have first caught word of most of these stories? I’ll give you a hint: It sure wasn’t watching primetime coverage. #NBCfail.

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