For Londoners, the 2012 Olympics has been a long time coming. Originally awarded to the city in 2005, the Games were hailed as an excellent opportunity for the UK economy, building jobs, increasing tourism and helping British business.
Unsurprisingly, a more nuanced reaction has since emerged, and with the 100-day countdown to the event beginning earlier this month, it is useful to assess how opinions towards the Olympics are being shaped.
Social media monitoring tool Meltwater Buzz has analysed thousands of online discussions since the start of this year, focusing specifically on the topics that have caused most unrest in the run up to the Games. The results offer a compelling and clear picture of how the Olympics is viewed with respect to:
The findings show a number of clear spikes in online buzz in relation to various events reported in the media, as mapped out on the infographic below.
30 January, for example, saw an spike in online conversations after it emerged that London Underground workers had rejected a pay offer to work during the Games. Transport is a critical issue for the Games , and online conversations demonstrate the depth of concern over disruptions and delays.
A surge in online buzz on 22 February resulted from a security test involving approximately 4,000 people. As London becomes a focus, many have wondered about the increased risk of physical or cyber attacks.
March generated the most online buzz, in response to the news that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games budget could overshoot by as much as £9.3bn, taking the estimated final taxpayer cost to £11bn. Members of the public have reacted fairly negatively to this news, with many questioning where their money has been spent, and how the legacy will benefit them. A clear spike in online buzz was identified in reaction to these concerns on 9 March.
Last month saw anti-BP activists fake the official London 2012 website, demanding that BP be dropped as one of the event’s official sponsors. On 11 April the group, calling themselves the Campaign for a Sustainable Olympics created their own version of the site and posted a story claiming LOCOG had axed the oil company as one of their sustainability partners. The reaction to this online shared a negative tone, as individuals took to social media to express surprise at the news. The protest group garnered a high level of online interest in its activities.
As the 100 days to go milestone arrives on 18 April, the online buzz was reflective of the nation’s excitement as the Games edge closer, with an impressive increase in online conversations and a majority positive sentiment.