#NBCFail: When Twitter Trends Aren’t Your Friend

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Any brand would jump for joy if its name had remained a trend on Twitter for several days. This is the kind of stuff Twitter marketing professionals dream of. Unless, that is, it was trending with the word #fail after it. NBC has fallen under some serious scrutiny for its coverage of the Summer Olympics, and displeased fans have taken to Twitter to air their complaints.

Given the fact the Olympics is a global event, no network is ever going to be able to make its audience completely happy. Just imagine the nightmarish logistics involved in such an undertaking. Tape delay is the No. 1 thing folks snipe about every four years and this time is no different. Yet what makes the whining and kvetching different in 2012 is how Twitter is making NBC stand up and listen to its viewers complaints. #NBCfail is the hashtag critical Olympic watchers are using and on Saturday, the hashtag got a real workout. Twitter users were ticked off when NBC news announced that Ryan Lochte had won the gold medal even though viewers couldn’t see the event for several more hours. Other Twitter users wondered why the opening ceremonies weren’t available live and questioned the delay of men’s basketball over women’s cycling.

Media critic Jeff Jarvis told the Associated Press, “#NBCfail is filled with a lot of crying and snark and humor, but NBC can actually learn something from it.” Olympic producer Jim Bell has taken notice of #NBCfail and has hopped on Twitter to address some complaints. The power of a negative hashtag is never more powerful than during a global event like the Olympics, so it’s a wise move to have folks like Bell fielding comments from time to time.

Still, it’s baffling that NBC hasn’t fully embraced the digital era. Yes, there is live streaming coverage of the events but not all of them and not easily. And instead of attacking Twitter users who are unhappy, why doesn’t NBC use Twitter to let folks know what event is on next and what time certain things start? Twitter and Facebook should be working overtime for NBC during the Olympics and right now they seem like an afterthought.

Readers, what say you? Is NBC doing the Olympics proud? Or are they stuck in old school problems while ignoring new world solutions? And is #NBCfail a fair hashtag or just mob-mentality bitching? Sound off below!

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