TWITTER OLYMPICS: A survey of what 1,393 tweets say about the London Olympics build-up

A world united in sport? Or an Olympic army of occupation that is taking over London causing tailbacks and mayhem? What’s the truth of it?

Taking a look at a snapshot of tweets some surprising facts emerged.
Using a tweetreach report on the #olympics hashtag that covers a three hour period just after rush-hour on Monday July 24 four days before the games started more than 1,300 tweets were analysed. They were not limited to a geographical area.
Yes, it was a bit tedious going through them all and yes, some of the results are a bit surprising. It’s also cross-posted on Comms2point0. 
This could never be a definitive study of opinion. For that more detailed evaluation and market research would need to be done. But what it does show is a snapshot of what Twitter was thinking in the run-up to the Olympic games over a three hour period.
Each tweet was assessed and graded as being positive, negative or neutral – the standard press office monitoring yardstick. I also kept a check on how many complained about LOCOG or the policing of the brand guidelines.

Headline findings

  • 37.8 per cent of tweets sent were positive about the Olympics.
  • 36.0 per cent of tweets sent were neutral about the Olympics.
  • 26.2 per cent of tweets sent were negative about the Olympics
  • 6.5 per cent of tweets sent were critical of the commercialisation or emforcement by LOCOG of brand guidelines. They’re counted in the overall negative list.


  • More than 4 million accounts were reached by the tweets.
  • More than 6 million impressions were made by the snapshot – that’s all the individual tweets added up.
On the face of it, just after rush hour on the Monday morning before the event starts may well be a low point in the run-up to the games. It’s Monday. The event hadn’t started yet and none of the razzle of the opening ceremony had begun to kick in. Athletes were still getting to grips with the traffic.

The top three tweets

All three of the top tweets from the survey were classed as negative with the third using the hashtag of the far right English Defence League – the EDL.

But some things are were striking…

Critical tweets. To have a quarter of tweets in the #olympics hashtag with four days to go would show a surprising degree of dissatisfaction. But with the event yet to start there is still time to change things.

Dissatisfaction with LOCOG. To have 6.5 per cent critical of the commercialisation of the games and how LOCOG are enforcing the rules is a significant number for a non-sporting issue. But while the issue is big in some quarters it’s simply not amogtst many.

LOCOG not engaging. LOCOG are not engaging with Twitter criticism and the Olympics Twitter account with more than a million followers is just tweeting a handful of times. Surprising when there is so much to communicate.

Brands are not engaging with the #Olympics hashtag. The main sponsors – McDonalds and others – were absent from the snapshot of tweets.

Excitement. There is genuine excitement amongst many people that the games are almost here, that they are in London.

Is hashtag crashing the new guerilla marketing? A handful of smaller companies are using the #Olympics hashtag to target the event. Accomodation companies, bookmakers and others are tweeting using the hashtag.

Athletes. For the first time at a big event competitors themselves are having a large say.

A cross-section of tweets in the run-up to the event tells a limited story. But it does show some pointers. With the Olympic movement not connecting with social media the conversations and chatter are clearly being shaped and dominated by those outside the corporate VIP area.

There is also much excitement ahead of the games – the majority of tweets are positive.

It will be fascinating to see how it pans out.

A snapshot of tweets…

Postitive, negative, LOCOG bashing and hashtag squating…

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