The 2018 Winter Olympics began February 9. Naturally, Twitter was buzzing the week before with pre-Olympic chatter. By searching the following Boolean in Sysomos, a social listening tool, we were able to find out what exactly the Twitter world was excited about approaching this year’s games.
Boolean: “(#olympics2018 OR #winterolympics) AND NOT @NBCOlympics”.
Our Wordcloud, which maps the most reoccurring words, showed the location of the games was a frequently discussed topic. The only specific athlete that showed up was figure skater Adam Rippon, however, through further analysis, we discovered this was due to the social buzz around an ongoing feud with US Vice President Mike Pence, who’s name is also prevalent through the cloud.
When looking at the latest activity, #TEAMUSA took over the mentions. This is because of retweeted posts from top athletes.
The geography analysis proves the reason the majority of Tweets referred to the US was because a whopping 66.8% of the Tweets came from the US. Despite corespondents already in South Korea, not many Tweets came from the host country itself.
The most retweeted Tweet was politically based, summarizing the interaction between Rippon, the first openly gay figure skater, and Pence. This shows that even within an event that is supposed to unite our country in celebration, politics still stands as a divider.
America, be more like Adam! 🇺🇸🏳️🌈#Olympics2018
— Ryan Knight #BlueWave2018 🌊 (@ProudResister) February 8, 2018
Finally, our Buzz Graph, which shows the linkage between different topics in the Tweets, confirms that the Olympics were being discussed primarily in the context of their host country or in relation to the ongoing Rippon-Pence drama.
In conclusion, the pre-Winter Olympic chatter, was focused less on the athletes’ abilities and more on the controversies surrounding the location or social positions of athletes, demonstrating today’s politically focused environment has impacted even the oldest of traditions.
Lucy Sutphin, Mary Roselle, Michelle Hernandez, Lauren Witonsky, Kyle Stevens