Social Sochi – Success or Failure?

Photo Courtesy Of Val 202 -
Photo Courtesy Of Val 202 –

Who doesn’t love the Olympics?!  A time for entire nations to bound together – root for their home-country athletes and be truly mesmerized by the talent and sheer strength of professional athletes.

However, as a social media guru, I have to take a few minutes and reflect on the social press that these 2014 Olympic Games generated.

The Social Stats

According to Jeff Bliss, President of The Javlin Group, – the total International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) fan base from social media platforms worldwide is 33.9 million. In addition to 1 million new likes on the IOC’s Facebook page, the social media giant reported that 24 million people talked about the Sochi Olympics on Facebook during the first week of competition. On Twitter, the Olympics had 6.5 million mentions during that same period. Overall, 1.2 billion impressions were noted on IOC Facebook and Twitter accounts in the past 30 days.


The amount of social media posts, comments, shares and tweets that took place during these Olympic Games is amazing! The issue lies with the negative overcastting cloud cover.  I urge you all to go ahead and Google #sochiproblems. You will find busted up hotels, dogs everywhere, it’s like a distorted and negative meme factory!

It is no wonder that all I think about when I think of the 2014 Sochi OIympics is the guy who got stuck in his room and all those adorable adopted dogs! Due to the amount of overwhelming negative social media messaging, I am having difficulty remembering what actual athletic high and low points actually took place (aside from the USA Hockey loss which I am still trying to accept, oh and the gold medal ice dancing team because they were on AM radio this morning giving an interview).

The Silver Lining

Has there been a recognizable outpour of negative social media messages and hashtags yes, but it has opened dialogues, fueled thousands of blog posts (like this one) and has our attention. The Sochi Olympics has sparked more conversation and feedback through social media than any other Olympic Games in history – for all we know people felt the same about past Olympic Games and just weren’t jumping on social media platforms every five seconds to convey their thoughts.

Contrary to the how the chips have fallen, I went back and scanned the official Sochi Twitter (@Sochi2014) feed. While that page does offer a really fun take on the games – it never shined through, it didn’t make it through the negative clutter.  And of course, there were little to no problems published on that feed except for some creepy mascot activity, but when are mascots not creepy?

#Sochi Conclusions and Final Thoughts

Was the PR/Social Media for the Olympics bad?  Yes.  But it got us talking about the Olympics and how every few years we get to see a reflection of a new culture.  So now that the Sochi Olympics has come to a close, I’m taking comfort in all of the transparency that social media ensures.  Thank you Sochi

Talkback Question: Are we to believe that the things we saw with #Sochiproblems were things that were inherently bad about Russia or the games or was this simply the first Olympics we have gotten to see through this lens?

This blog post was written by Benjamin Sandler, Director of Social Media, Conceptual Communications


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