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Social Media Analysis of the 2012 Summer Olympics Awash in Discussion Around US Swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte

The Olympics is one of my favorite things to watch every couple of years. So, we decided to use Attensity’s social media analytics to find out the sentiment toward this year’s games and the key athletes.

Using Attensity Analyze, the company’s social analytics application, Attensity identified and analyzed over 197,000 comments about the Olympics posted on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, news sites, forums, videos and other social sources starting from the Omaha swimming trials and leading up to the opening ceremony today! The results from the entire data set from June 23-July 23 show that social media users expressed an overwhelming 98 percent positive sentiment toward the games, with the most-used Twitter handles showing excitement brewing over unconfirmed rumors of a performance by pop group One Direction. With my kids, I am around tweens all of the time and, based on their tendencies, I get this excitement! That said, the vast majority of the overall comments focused on American swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. I watched the swim trials, and I must say both the excitement about these swimmers and their impending “rivalry” is very exciting!

The full Attensity report is available as a free download here.

Attensity’s data reveals that the peak of mentions about Lochte and Phelps occurred on June 25 when Lochte won the men’s 400-meter individual medley final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha. The single highest spike in social media comments among this month-long period, however, came on July 19 after Lochte tweeted that he would make phone calls to fans.

Phelps generated more comments in social media than Lochte, with 96 percent expressing positive sentiment toward Phelps. Phelps has been an active public figure since the last summer Olympics with epic wins, so that is no surprise.

After the trials, however, Lochte swam ahead of Phelps by earning an astonishing 99 percent positive rating.

What accounts for this slight difference is Lochte’s super-loyal fan-base dubbed “The Lochte Nation,”…


… whose giddy comments contrasted with those on Phelps’s perceived overexposure and past marijuana usage.

Want to see more? Get the full social media sentiment analysis of the Olympics and its two key athletes here. And, come back and visit the blog – we will do another post as the games continue. Go U.S.A.!!!