Let’s keep the Twitter chatter down out there, please. Olympics officials at the London games asked that spectators limit their mobile Twitter posts to “urgent updates” on Sunday when an overabundance of Tweets jammed the wireless networks.
According to a report in The Guardian, the BBC commentators on the cycling road races were unable to get current racer positioning and timing information because the Olympic Broadcasting Service could not get the data across the network. Apparently the number of people in the crowd posting to Twitter with their cell phones so clogged the networks that even the OBS could not get the GPS data it needed from the cyclists’ bikes. Commentators were reduced to using their own watches to estimate the timing of the racers.
The Communications Director Mark Adams was quoted by the Guardian saying that one of the networks used to transmit the standings and timings to the BBC was oversubscribed and that the OBS was trying to distribute the data across more networks. “We don’t want to stop people engaging in this by social media, but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates,” he said.
No word yet on what qualifies as an “urgent update” from a crowd of cycle race watchers.