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Social Media Analysis, Twitter and the London Olympics 2012

By: , , , , & Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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During the course of this case study, we examine publically available social media data that relate to the London 2012 Olympic Games that has been harvested and analysed using the Cardiff Online Social Media ObServatory. Social media has matured sufficiently in terms of user uptake and incorporation into traditional media platforms and outlets that the recent London Olympics has been described as the first social media games. For example, the BBC used the Twitter stream to incorporate and mobilise audience participation into its Olympic coverage. With this in mind, this case will explore the analysis of social media data in relation to sporting events and social media use. In doing so, we identify the ways in which Cardiff Online Social Media ObServatory can be used to identify hashtag popularity over a specific time period to identify real-world events, in this case ‘Super Saturday’. The case study reports on indicative evidence that links real-world sporting events to spikes in real-time populations' reaction through self-reported social media updates. In turn, the case provides an analysis of frequency and sentiment of tweets containing the most popular UK hashtag connected to the London 2012 Olympics over a specified time period. This has consequences for conceptualising the relationship between social actors, events and social media and methodological strategies for understanding the dynamic (locomotive) reactions of populations.

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