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Olympics Go Social: Further Social Media Analysis of the Games and a Look Into the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team

As one of the most exciting games in history, with an unprecedented number of star athletes, the 2012 Summer Olympics has been a topic perfectly fit for Attensity’s social analytics solutions.

We released today an analysis of top social media conversations and mentions from the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The full Attensity report is available as a free download at:

Using Attensity Analyze, our social analytics application, we identified and analyzed hundreds of thousands of comments about the Olympics posted on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, news sites, forums, videos and social and online sources starting from the swimming and gymnastics trials and leading up to the closing ceremony. The results from the entire data set from June 24-August 7 show that social media users expressed an overwhelming 98 percent positive sentiment toward the Olympics, a percentage consistent with our previous analysis of the games running through July 23.


We also found that sentiment toward American swimmer Michael Phelps, which was fairly negative compared to Lochte in our last analysis, reversed as he gained momentum in his final races and was proclaimed the “greatest Olympian ever.” Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte remained neck and neck in social volume until Phelps edged out Lochte during the races. Attensity Analyze shows the “why” in the spikes of social conversation for Phelps per day; below you see the conversation spikes illustrated. The “why” was mostly about Phelps being the most decorated athlete, combined with all of the related, very positive hype around that.

The most-used, Olympics-related Twitter handles (@real_liam_payne and @onedirection) remained focused around rumors of a performance by pop group One Direction. If you did not know about them before, you will surely soon!

And, social media insight around the Olympics since our last analysis focused largely on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team and a look into the athletes’ worlds driven by the emotions from both the worldwide and hometown fans.

Our data reveals that, while Gabby Douglas won the all-around gold at the final gymnastics event, the most buzzed-about “Fierce Five” member, taking in the entire period (June 24-August 7), is McKayla Maroney, earning 30,374 comments in social media and far surpassing her teammates who were all in the same range between 23,000 and 25,000 comments.

What accounts for this discrepancy is Maroney having been heavily considered a shoo-in in advance for Olympic gold and then making a facial expression when accepting the silver medal after a devastating fall that would become the subject of the latest internet meme frenzy.

The nuances in the sentiment and trends were identified with Attensity Analyze to accurately characterize these conversations from public sources. The actionable information can be used in contact centers and marketing with our social engagement solution, Attensity Respond, to route messages to the appropriate person to respond. We also provide the world’s first real-time, semantically annotated social media data stream as a cloud service, the Attensity Pipeline.

Photo credit: The Sierra Club