K. Girginova (August 4, 2016). Will Social Media Define the Success of the Olympic Games? The Conversation (UK Edition).

While social media are a pervasive global force, it’s unclear how they’ll be used at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Which narratives will be told, by whom, and what impact will they have?

Abstract: 

Although research has shown that the media tend to be negatively biased toward non-Western mega-event hosts, the Rio 2016 Olympic organizing committee has been left to contend with what is perhaps the most problematic mainstream media coverage of any Olympics so far. In turn, we’d expect the organizers and the International Olympic Committee to be battling to reclaim the Olympic Games’ image. But in an unprecedented move, they’ve done almost the opposite. 

In their strategic communications plan, drafted as early as 2012, Rio’s Olympic organizers relinquished a surprising amount of storytelling power not only to journalists but to the general public on social media, writing “citizens who publish content on the web are the ones who will ultimately define the success of the Games.” 

While social media are a pervasive global force, it’s unclear how they’ll be used at the Rio Games. Which narratives will be told, by whom, and what impact will they have?