Experiencing The Olympics Through Social Media

Air Date:
Heard On The Morning Show
Jamaica Athletes Selfie Olympics Social Media Pyeong Chang
Athletes from Jamaica take a selfie during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Clive Mason/AP Photo

Social media users are having conversations about the Olympics on a second screen. They’re using using social media to highlight triumphs and call out problems in Pyeongchang. Our guest is a former vice president at ESPN and CNN contributor. She breaks down how athletes, viewers, and organizations are harnessing social media to affect coverage of the Winter Games.

Featured in this Show

  • Writer: Social Media Takes Narrative Away From Traditional Media At Olympics

    Social media is redefining the conversation around the Olympics and who’s running it.

    “Before, we (journalists) were the only interpreters, we were the window for the world. Now, athletes have a direct voice, they have a direct way to connect with their audience, fans and the world.” said Roxanne Jones, a founding editor of ESPN Magazine and former vice president at ESPN.

    The Olympics are opportune playing grounds for social media, Jones said. It’s an event the entire world is watching, and it brings in a younger audience.

    “It brings in a younger, fresher voice, and often a critical voice” she said. “Anything that gives more perspective on what we’re seeing as a world and a country, I’m all for.”

    Mike Pence was recently targeted by this critical eye at the Olympics when he didn’t stand for the North Korean and South Korean teams marching together during the opening ceremony.

    “I thought that it was a low moment … if you’re going to go over there, especially as the vice president, there’s no need to disrespect the athletes like that,” Jones said. “That was a general statement across Twitter.”

    Social media has the ability to elevate conversations that have historically been controlled by the media, Jones said. This was evident when CNN took heavy criticism on Twitter for a story that claimed, Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was “stealing the show at the Winter Olympics.”

    “I think that they’re right to talk about the regime in North Korea,” she said. “I’m glad they have a voice on Twitter, that’s one of the good things about social media is that you don’t just get one perspective on the story.”

    Thanks in large part to social media, diversity has a greater platform at the Winter Olympics than it ever has, Jones said. Take bobsled athlete Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, a New Jersey native who holds dual citizenship with Jamaica, and chose to represent them at the games.

    “In these Olympics, some of the things that have had made me excited about where they are and (these) conversations we’re having across cultures is that we’re simply having the conversation,” Jones said. “And there has been backlash in the American community.”

    In response to the backlash, Jones said the United States wouldn’t be the top global medal winner in the Olympics if it didn’t have African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, women, gay people and more competing under the U.S. flag.

    So much patriotism in one selfie! 🇺🇸

    A post shared by Team USA (@teamusa) on

    And, Jones believes social media is making a difference.

    “Media is very sensitive to backlash that happens across social media,” she said. “Certainly we should pay attention to that because it is a pulse on how the public is feeling.”

Episode Credits

  • Kate Archer Kent Host
  • Kealey Bultena Producer
  • Roxanne Jones Guest

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