The internet (and social media in particular) are absolutely ruining the Olympic viewing experience for traditional sports fans.
Yes, thus far, NBC is awarding itself a gold medal in the ratings competition. NBC primetime ratings for the London 2012 Summer Games are nearly 10%-20% higher than the ratings from the Beijing 2008 Summer Games…depending on which NBC propaganda that you believe. But NBC’s presence extends well beyond the mother peacock network.
NBC has made the Summer Olympics viewable on multiple platforms and channels (NBC, Bravo, MSNBC, Telemundo, and the sports-channel-formerly-known-as-Versus). Not only can viewers watch a mixture of live and tape-delayed broadcasts (primarily tape-delayed, of course) on various channels, but they can also watch events live (online).
Trouble is, NBC isn’t the only competitor in the field. In fact, often times, NBC is often dead last in announcing the winners!!! Twitter is really taking the gold medal…with Facebook earning a solid silver medal.
Flashback to 2008. Back then, it was a little easier to avoid hearing Olympic results before getting to sit down and watch them on NBC. Back then, I would set my VCR to record the Olympics.
Then, once I got home to turn on the television, I would immediately grab the remote control in order to instantly change the channel to anything other than NBC to avoid seeing any results. Or else I had to instantly hit the mute button (while staring in a totally different direction away from the TV screen) until I could manage to find the VCR remote to rewind (then play) what I recorded earlier. Whew!
Flash forward to 2012. NBC still expects us to go home, fix our dinners, and sit in front of our television sets to watch 5 hours of primetime coverage (or 1.5 hours of actual sports, plus 2.5 hours of commercials, plus 1 hour of warm fuzzy stories about London or the athletes’ backgrounds).
Trouble is, when I’m home in front of my TV watching the tape-delayed Olympics, I’m usually multi-tasking.
My nightly Olympics routine now includes:
1. Flipping back and forth to ESPN Sportscenter while there are commercials on NBC
2. Skimming CNN.com to make sure that the world didn’t end when I was momentarily away from technology
3. Surfing online and checking emails
4. Texting with friends who I don’t want to actually see that night (because 5 minutes talking with them is sometimes more than enough)
5. Spending quality time spying on those very same friends’ Facebook posts
6. Creating immensely popular—dare I say, legendary—blog posts for Flaming Bag of Poo (since Poo’s audience now rivals that of the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey team matches)
High-tech and social media are double-edged swords for those of us that wish to stay constantly connected. Yes, tools like Twitter and Facebook keep us more connected with the world. But those same tools make it nearly impossible to stay disconnected when we want to be disconnected.
But just as I’m watching the Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines announce the line-up for the men’s 4x400m Freestyle Relay, I’ll see someone’s post or tweet about “Lochte sucked in that final leg. Phelps shoulda ankored. #USAswimteamtooksilver”.
You want a Twitter controversy? Here’s one: Twitter sucks. Twitter is for the people that we used to be able to walk away and ignore.
Because the Twitter community’s grasp of spelling and the English language isn’t nearly as proficient as that of Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Tom Hammond, Michelle Beadle, John McEnroe, or dare I say, even Ryan Seacrest.
Twitter and Facebook aren’t the only spoilers. For some reason, the worldwide leader in sports feels the need to provide us with up-to-the-minute updates on…what else…sports!
Have you ever tried to stare at only the middle of the TV screen during ESPN Sportscenter highlights—and not glance at the ticker below with your peripheral vision?
I might just start using black duct tape across the bottom of my flat screen TV!
That’s precisely why Apple is anxiously waiting for the completion of the London Games! The soon-to-be-announced new iPhone 5 will come equipped with a new app that will block any references to Olympic results from your favorite news outlets, friends’ posts, and family’s text messages.
And that’s precisely why the iPhone 5 will be the Flaming Bag of Poo’s very first iPhone. And perhaps also the first time the Poo has ever camped outside a store to be an early first-day purchaser of any gadget.
(Nowadays, Poo absolutely hates Droid phones. My Droid operating system has gone haywire on my HTC. I finally now understand the mesmerizing trance of Apple.)
The iPhone 5’s possible new app will be like when the villains erase brains in TOTAL RECALL.
Flaming Bag of Poo still can’t decide whether to catch the remake/reboot to TOTAL RECALL, one of Arnold’s few great films.
Heck, Kate Beckinsale is in the new TOTAL RECALL. Who am I kidding? Poo will definitely see it! (Assuming that nobody spoils the ending for me on Twitter or Facebook beforehand.)
Unless Flaming Bag of Poo designs an app that blocks out the entire worldwide web!!!
Because that would truly be a backlash that could rival the Michael Phelps Olympic backlash.