Social media and the Rio Olympics

2016 Rio OlympicsSocial media, like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, gave fans the opportunity for an up-close and behind the scenes look at the recent Olympic Games in Rio. It also provided new challenges for athletes, fans, sponsors and the media. During the games, Lisa Weidman and Susan Currie Sivek, both associate professors of mass communication at Linfield, answered several questions about how social media might be changing the way we watch and enjoy the Olympics.

“There certainly are more ways to engage with the Games and the athletes today than ever before,” said Weidman. “Athletes with a large following on social media may be able to shape their public image through their posts — or defend themselves in response to criticisms or negative portrayals in traditional media.”

In their interview, Sivek and Weidman observe how current social media platforms have the unique ability to both connect and disconnect audiences withLisa Weidman and Susan Sivek, Linfield professors athletes in Rio.

“Oddly, I feel like social media have been both unifying and divisive during these Olympics,” Sivek said. “Folks are talking about events and personalities and sharing their reactions, just as they do with any other event today. However, I also see people staying off of social media or trying hard to avoid spoilers.”

Read more from Weidman and Sivek in this post at