During the 2012 London Summer Olympics, NBC was eager to stretch its social media wings, hoping to make use of its Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Google+ expertise to engage with viewers of its TV and online coverage. NBC provided a comprehensive guide to its social media 'coverage' (here) and had every member of its team contributing to it. From broadcasters to analysts to Ryan Seacrest, NBC provided viewers with countless lenses through which they could experience the games.
So how did NBC and its good intentions become #NBCfail?
The answer: easily. Just as is the case with all public relations or audience engagement efforts, social media provides the tools for audiences to revolt. NBC was fighting an uphill battle by attempting to please all of its diverse viewers in its coverage of the foreign events. Some viewers wanted timely delivery of events, while others wanted to be kept in suspense if they could not feasibly tune in to the live coverage online. Evening news viewers heading to bed early wanted to know what happened at the Olympics earlier in the day, while night-owls wanted to wait for the primetime coverage. Workplace multi-taskers wanted to join an online conversation about the events they watched live online, while busier workers wanted to wait until the 8-11pm hours to enjoy the games. It was simply impossible for NBC to please the divergent desires of its audience simultaneously.
Rather than social media being NBC's legacy for the 2012 games, it became the legacy of the many people contributing to the #NBCfail conversation. While NBC was certainly very present on a variety of social media platforms during the games, it was simply unable to control the wild Twittersphere in its critique of the network's coverage. I give NBC an "A" for effort.