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‘TweetyTwelve The Review’: Part 1 – Team GB’s social media performance

Tanya Goodin
Tanya Goodin
CEO
13 August 2012

With the Olympics done and dusted and that ‘post-party’ gloom in danger of descending, it’s time for a little bit of reflection. As you will know if you’ve been following @TamarUK on Twitter or Facebook these past few weeks, we’ve been monitoring digital data over the course of the London Games – and now is the time to start crunching some numbers.

Over the course of the next five days, we’re going to publish our review of social media and the Olympics including: how our own Team GB athletes fared, how the fans of the countries of the world showed their support, how social media played a part overall in the Games, and of course the big ‘legacy’ question: “What next?”

With national pride currently running high, we turn our attention first of all to the athletes of Team GB. Of the ~540 athletes who made up Team GB, over 70% of them were actively using Twitter before and during the Games – and we kept an eye on every single one. Which of them fared the best between the opening and closing ceremonies? We’ve got the data:

First up, let’s take a look at which athletes gained the most number of followers during the games:

Rank Athlete Opening Ceremony Closing Ceremony Net Growth
1 Tom Daley 312,709 1,459,224 1,146,515
2 Jessica Ennis 200,503 646,010 445,507
3 Bradley Wiggins 282,555 551,291 268,736
4 Mo Farah 122,499 366,611 244,112
5 Rebecca Adlington 64,112 277,370 213,258
6 Chris Hoy 102,789 305,746 202,957
7 Mark Cavendish 393,499 514,376 120,877
8 Andy Murray 1,013,848 1,121,713 107,865
9 Victoria Pendleton 67,063 169,638 102,575
10 Chris Mears 7,658 93,618 85,960
11 Louis Smith 13,218 86,753 73,535
12 Laura Trott 10,364 83,359 72,995
13 Greg Rutherford 6,040 71,359 65,319
14 Peter Waterfield 6,039 70,192 64,153
15 Kristian Thomas 1,229 50,404 49,175
16 Zoe Smith 5,977 52,129 46,152
17 Michael Jamieson 2,458 44,629 42,171
18 Jack Laugher 7,533 46,178 38,645
19 Laura Robson 82,106 118,760 36,654
20 Max Whitlock 863 33,620 32,757
21 Liam Tancock 21,448 53,748 32,300
22 Chris Froome 69,851 99,925 30,074
23 Ben Ainslie 8,451 38,466 30,015
24 Jason Kenny 0 29,169 29,169
25 Elizabeth Tweddle 15,408 44,260 28,852

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As you can see, choosing Tom Daley and Jess Ennis as the poster boy and girl of the Games was an excellent choice – both came out the other side with an impressive number of new followers. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that the Top 9 or 10 athletes in this list represent the most memorable faces from Team GB’s performance at the Games.

However absolute number growth probably favours those who are already fairly well-known, so we also looked at who grew the most in percentage terms. Here’s the Top 25 there:

Rank Athlete Opening Ceremony Closing Ceremony Percentage Growth
1 Gemma Gibbons 461 27,101 5,779%
2 Kristian Thomas 1,229 50,404 4,001%
3 Max Whitlock 863 33,620 3,796%
4 Peter Wilson 275 5,622 1,944%
5 Katherine Copeland 250 4,910 1,864%
6 Michael Jamieson 2,458 44,629 1,716%
7 Nicola Adams 1,230 18,666 1,418%
8 Chris Mears 7,658 93,618 1,122%
9 Greg Rutherford 6,040 71,359 1,081%
10 Sam Oldham 1,430 16,698 1,068%
11 Peter Waterfield 6,039 70,192 1,062%
12 Alicia Blagg 801 9,108 1,037%
13 Philip Hindes 804 7,904 883%
14 Zara Dampney 2,356 21,685 820%
15 Zoe Smith 5,977 52,129 772%
16 Jennifer Pinches 2,359 20,367 763%
17 Laura Trott 10,364 83,359 704%
18 Hannah Starling 610 4,665 665%
19 Luke Campbell 2,552 18,111 610%
20 Jade Jones 4,456 30,595 587%
21 Rebecca Gallantree 602 3,958 557%
22 Louis Smith 13,218 86,753 556%
23 Rebecca Tunney 1,910 12,242 541%
24 Jack Laugher 7,533 46,178 513%
25 Stuart Stokes 143 876 513%

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Whereas the first set of data highlights the increase in followers a lot of the ‘personalities’ enjoyed who were already well-known before the Games, the percentage growth clearly demonstrates what winning a medal can do for your profile if you went into the Games relatively unknown.

Of course growth in Twitter followers is incomparable to winning an Olympic medal – we don’t for a moment think these athletes are patting themselves on the back for their social media ‘achievement’ this morning! But look at any of the tweet streams of any those athletes above and you’ll see they ARE all very keenly aware of their newly raised profiles – and a lot of them seem very touched by the growth in their followers. Social media profile growth will doubtless result in a raised awareness, and support of, their individual sport – and isn’t that what any athlete hopes for?

Tomorrow in Part 2 of ‘TweetyTwelve The Review’ we’ll be taking a look at what the precise effect of winning a medal has on an athlete’s social media profile.

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