Facebook and the Social Olympics – who did we talk about?

The London 2012 Olympic games were billed as “the Social Olympics”. That was mostly because of the high rate of social media use in the community, but also because...

The London 2012 Olympic games were billed as “the Social Olympics”. That was mostly because of the high rate of social media use in the community, but also because the athletes themselves were tweeting and Facebooking while in London. But what exactly was popular during the Games? EFTM has some interesting data from Facebook showing exactly who and what was talked about…

Rather unsurprisingly, Usain Bolt dominated the discussion in most countries. Bolt’s gold medals in the 100m and 200m might have only lasted a few seconds, but the man himself generated huge talk on Facebook.

In Australia, he was the most discussed athlete ahead of Sally Pearson and James Magnussen. Bolt was also the most discussed in France, the UK, Spain, Canada, Germany and Singapore. He featured in the top three most discussed athletes in New Zealand, Italy and Russia.

Matthew Mitcham, Emily Seebohm, Anna Meares and Christian Sprenger were the other Aussies in the top 10 athletes mentioned by Australians, joining international stars Kobe Bryant, Mo Farrah and Tom Daley.

At a glance, South Korea looks like the most parochial, with the top 10 athletes mentioned there not featuring any of these international superstars like Bolt or Phelps.

Globally, Usain Bolt topped the list, with the weight of the USA’s Facebook audience pushing Michael Phelps to second place globally, followed by US Dual Gold Medal winning Gymnast Gabby Douglas in third.

No-one can match Michael Phelps for pulling power though, he attracted an extra 747,300 fans during the games, even ahead of Usain Bolt’s 694,200.


Here’s a complete look at the most discussed athletes in each country:

Australia New Zealand
1) Usain Bolt 1) Valerie Adams
2) Sally Pearson 2) Usain Bolt
3) James Magnussen 3) Lisa Carrington
4) Kobe Bryant 4) Mahe Drysdale
5) Mo Farah 5) Sarah Walker
6) Tom Daley 6) Roger Federer
7) Matthew Mitcham 7) Andy Murray
8) Emily Seebohm 8) Sally Pearson
9) Anna Meares 9) Tom Daley
10) Christian Sprenger 10) Mo Farah
South Korea France
1) Park Tae-Hwan 1) Usain Bolt
2) Im Dong-Hyun 2) Teddy Riner
3) Park Chu-Young 3) Christopher Lemaitre
4) Ki Sung-Yeung 4) Yannick Agnel
5) Shin A-Lam 5) Neymar
6) Kim Bo-Kyung 6) Tony Parker
7) Kim Jae-Bum 7) Michael Phelps
8) Lee Yong-Dae 8) Camille Muffat
9) Koo Ja-Cheol 9) Renaud Lavillenie
10) Ji Dong-Won 10) Yohan Blake
UK Italy
1) Usain Bolt 1) Neymar
2) Tom Daley 2) Federica Pellegrini
3) Mo Farah 3) Usain Bolt
4) Jessica Ennis 4) Josefa Idem
5) Andy Murray 5) Michael Phelps
6) Chris Hoy 6) Clemente Russo
7) Bradley Wiggins 7) Carlo Molfetta
8) Michael Phelps 8) Vincenzo Mangiacapre
9) Roger Federer 9) Mauro Sarmiento
10) Yohan Blake 10) Valerio Aspromonte
Spain Germany
1) Usain Bolt 1) Usain Bolt
2) Pau Gasol 2) Neymar
3) Andrea Fuentes 3) Michael Phelps
4) Neymar 4) Roger Federer
5) Marc Gasol 5) Julius Brink
6) Serge Ibaka 6) Robert Harting
7) Mireia Belmonte 7) Jonas Reckermann
8) David Cal 8) Ryan Lochte
9) Juan Carlos Navarro 9) Marcel Nguyen
10) Rudy Fernández 10) LeBron James
Canada Russia
1) Usain Bolt 1) Aliya Mustafina
2) Michael Phelps 2) Usain Bolt
3) Ryan Lochte 3) Viktoria Komova
4) Gabby Douglas 4) Ivan Ukhov
5) Christine Sinclair 5) Evgenia Kanaeva
6) Neymar 6) Arsen Galstyan
7) Oscar Pistorius 7) Anna Chicherova
8) Brent Hayden 8) Maria Paseka
9) Andy Murray 9) Ilya Zakharov
10) Yohan Blake 10) Dmitriy Muserskiy
Japan Singapore
1) Kohei Uchimura 1) Usain Bolt
2) Yoshie Takeshita 2) Feng Tianwei
3) Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu 3) Li Jiawei
4) Ryohei Kato 4) Wang Yuegu
5) Kosuke Kitajima 5) Michael Phelps
6) Koji Murofushi (only five recorded)
7) Kasumi Ishikawa
8) Ai Fukuhara
9) Kosuke Hagino
10) Satoshi Shimizu


Top Mentioned Athletes & Moments – Olympics Overall

Global Athletes – all athletes, ranked by # of mentions for Olympics overall

  1. Usain Bolt
  2. Michael Phelps
  3. Gabby Douglas
  4. Ryan Lochte
  5. Tom Daley
  6. Neymar
  7. Andy Murray
  8. Jessica Ennis
  9. Oscar Pistorius
  10. Serena Williams

Top Global Moments – Olympics overall

  • Usain Bolt – win on 8/5
  • Andy Murray – win on 8/5
  • Jessica Ennis – win on 8/4
  • Usain Bolt – win on 8/9
  • Gabby Douglas – win on 8/2
  • Alex Morgan – women’s semi-final game
  • Michael Phelps – win on 7/31

Top Athlete by Fan Growth – by # fans added – Global

  • Michael Phelps (+747.3K)
  • Usain Bolt (+694.2K)
  • Jessica Ennis (+621.6K)

Top Athlete by Fan Growth – by % growth – Global

  • Gabby Douglas (3,792%)
  • Marcel Nguyen (2,390%)
  • Justin Gatlin (1,554%)

Most Active Country – ranked by Talk Meter Scores

  1. Jamaica
  2. England
  3. Kenya
  4. Ireland
  5. Venezuela
  6. New Zealand
  7. South Africa
  8. Mexico
  9. Spain
  10. US


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Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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