#NBCFail: A qualitative review of the shared experience as a social movement

Brendan O'Hallarn, Stephen Shapiro


The XXX Olympic Games in London, England was the most-watched event in U.S. television history, with more than 219 million viewers tuning in during the Games. However, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) elected to show a number of events to U.S. audiences in prime time via tape delay, rather than broadcasting them live. As a result NBC encountered a great deal of criticism about its coverage, particularly on the online microblogging site Twitter. This research surveyed a sample of Twitter users who participated in the Twitter protest via the #NBCFail hashtag, to understand how being part of a shared protest affected their feelings about the Olympics, and NBC, both during, and several months after, the Olympic Games. The results suggest the feelings of #NBCFail participants were amplified significantly by being part of a movement, and that the protest network, while dormant outside of the Games, could be reactivated very quickly, with more participants, in future Olympics.


Olympics; Internet; Twitter; NBC; Social Movement Theory

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i1.4760

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