Never before have the Olympic games been at the mercy of such immediate reaction. The internet was slower, less reactionary and more cautious. Twitter wasn't the thing in 2008.
In 2012, it has made us realize that NBC's broadcasting from London may take 14 hours to reach American TV compared to the Curiosity rover sending back a similarly grainy image just minutes after landing on freakin' Mars. F***in Mars, people.
Twitter has also been a tool to judge which Olympic athletes are trending and why.
So why are people watching the Olympics? You, dear reader, are probably watching simply because you're a sports fan. You're probably keeping tabs on Arizona athletes, people who you have rooted on for a while now. You enjoy seeing Michael Phelps become one of the greatest Olympians of all time. Patriotism wells inside of you. You are captivated by watching a non-American in Usain Bolt destroy the most competitive 100-meter field ever assembled. History is important. You take in a little hand ball to see how similar it is to basketball, if at all.
But what about the masses? Is it American pride that brings their interests out? Or are people only watching because of Ryan Lochte or Georganne Moline's abs?
Poor Moline. An Arizona Wildcat hurdler and a native of Phoenix (which happens to be located in the great USofA), Moline made the finals of the 400-meter hurdles. And she became a small case study to finding a concerning trend.
After her race was aired on NBC late Monday night, you'd think there'd be a wide range of Wildcat fans, Arizonans and Americans who would be proud for those three labels alone. You know, we here thought people would like a brief recap of the race, but skim this Twitter search of Moline's name, and you'll find a range of posts from complimentary to creepy.
The majority of the tweets are neither UA-related nor track related.
Let's just say that while it's cool and all to acknowledge that someone is attractive -- I think it's safe to accuse both men and women of doing this -- it's pretty shady to make it X-rated on Twitter. It's also pointless to ask them out on Twitter when they don't have a Twitter.
Here's another example of frightening online love pursuit , if you will: Earlier on Monday, the US women's soccer team beat Canada, and it was former California Golden Bear Alex Morgan who knocked in a header as extra time dwindled to break a 3-3 tie.
Former Arizona Wildcats forward Chase Budinger worked his Twitter game, and it too stunk of a weak line of romantic inquiry. Thankfully, he was put in his place by former teammate Shane Battier, a man of reason and integrity.
After reading this controversial New York Times piece, which criticized Lolo Jones for using the Olympics as a marketing campaign based on beauty rather than her skill as a hurdler, it's not that I or anyone agree with author Jere Longman's accusation.
But an off-point the article brought to mind is that people are watching for, well, different reasons than your average sports fan.
It's also odd that studies showed more women planned to watch the London games than men despite men being the obvious majority of sports fans, according to this article by Gallup. Something wonky in the viewership goes on during the Olympics.
I don't have an answer for you. Judging a whole of a country by people lurking on Twitter isn't good science. The NY Times piece insinuates that people watch to find their next celebrity crush, and considering The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are pretty damn popular, I wouldn't put that past the masses.
Maybe, as the Gallup study shows, women are more patriotic than men -- that's a weak assumption you might make.
The only thing you might take out of these 690 words is this: Don't engage in romantic pursuits on Twitter.