The peacock network needs to pull up its big boy pants and get back to work. Instead NBC Sports seems intent on pulling whatever strings it can to silence its critics.
See update at the end of this item. Update #2 – @GuyAdams account was reinstated after NBC retracted their complaint. (See below.) Update #3 – Twitter finally comes clean and apologizes.
In a stunning display of corporate heavy-handedness, NBC managed to kill the Twitter account of Guy Adams. Whether or not you’ve heard of him is less the issue than the chill of NBC’s actions.
What exactly did Mr. Adams do to offend the mighty network? Well according to NBC Sports (via news reports) he had the audacity to post this:
“The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.email@example.com”
NBC promptly complained that Adams had published a personal email address, a violation of Twitter’s rules. Twitter, which just so happens to be a partner in NBC’s coverage of the London games, in turn cancelled Adams’ account.
But Adams isn’t just some guy in Peoria railing against inane color commentary and urging people to protest NBC’s coverage. He’s a US-based writer for The Independent, a paper in the UK and online. So his criticism were getting serious exposure. Here’s a sampling of what Adams had to say about NBC.
- “Matt Lauer would do well to shut up, wouldn’t he?”
- “Techcrunch call @NBColympics total buffoons http://t.co/1DYypK0T Sums up why Gary Zenkel, moronic exec behind the time delay, shd be fired
- “America’s left coast forced to watch Olympic ceremony on SIX HOUR time delay. Disgusting money-grabbing by @NBColympics http://t.co/bQxKCCdj“
Of course they’re getting even more now, and that’s NBC’s fault. What TV network, what news and sports organization, doesn’t realize by now that the surest way to give someone a bigger spotlight is to try to muzzle them?
Imagine for a moment the outrage if Twitter cancelled Matt Lauer’s account because of a post. The network would be firing on all cylinders thrashing the social network and demanding the situation be reversed.
Look, clearly I’m certainly no fan of NBC’s coverage. And Twitter has been full of criticism and mocking. #NBCFail has been very active with criticism of the tape delay and actual coverage. (Twitter has even taken to putting sponsored tweets atop the feed to make money on the rants.) There’s even the mocking @NBCDelayed that has quickly earned a following with tweets like this:
BREAKING: Governor George W. Bush wins Florida, declared President-Elect. VP Gore to challenge.
— NBC Delayed (@NBCDelayed) July 29, 2012
I understand that paying $40 billion to broadcast the Olympics for the next three decades means that NBC can pretty much do what it wants. And I applaud the network for making all the games available online in real-time. But please stop acting like people sitting down to prime time coverage are getting the experience as it happens. It insults our intelligence.
And quit whining about your critics.
UPDATE: Several readers have noted that Twitter has treated NBC’s critic very differently than it did director Spike Lee when he tweeted a home address for the alleged gunman in the Trayvon Martin shooting. And in that case he got the address wrong, victimizing an elderly couple. Shame on Twitter for giving in to NBC.
Twitter emails to tell me: “we have just received an update from the complainant retracting their original request…”
— Guy Adams (@guyadams) July 31, 2012
On Monday I learned that horse events (sorry, equestrian events) at the Olympics are kind of a big deal. The team and individual cross country event was carried live on both BBC and NBC networks, and thousands of message were flying from spectators and fans as it happened. In fact, #eventinglive was one of the top trends on Twitter as the action went down.
Watching was all the more fun because designers created a course that looks like it was intended for miniature golf more so than for horses. Horses were flying over chess boards and log cabins, through diamonds and, of course, over the moon. As one of my equestrian loving friends, @Rachel_Walters, noted, “There is imagination in course design but this is on another level.”
I took a particular liking to Swedish rider Niklas Lindback. But that probably had something to do with the fact that his horse was named Mister Pooh.
By far the coolest thing I saw was the inflatable emergency vests that some of the riders were wearing. Like an airbag in your car, the vest inflates the instant a rider gets thrown, protecting the ribs, neck and back. Check out this sales video. There has to be some great alternative uses for technology like that.
About Project TILWO — Every day I watch London 2012 Olympic coverage on TV and online then share the lessons I learned, with occasional help from my friends. Edited by Lynn Hess @ Premier Proofing.