Wondering what “Team Radian” is counting at the #olympics …


Supposedly the Americans are crushing it when it comes to using social media during the Olympics. As Mashable reports:

The United States so far is winning the Olympics in both the physical and digital worlds, according to Radian6′s findings, with 43 total medals and more than 15 million social mentions. Great Britain is second in social mentions at about 3 million, exceeding its fourth-place medal performance to date. The chart below shows the top 10 countries for Olympic-themed social mentions so far.

While I do believe that the Americans go more crazy about the Olympics than other nations, I would have a simple question for ‘team radian’:

What are actually the hash tags and words you are researching?

This one probably being one of the first problems:
(One quick disclaimer: the data monitors mostly English-language shares, with obviously has impacts results.)

I would be fine if the titles would have included that “English speaking” but of course that is not as sexy a message. But it explains why Americans athletes are top of the list with
“600,000 social mentions that also included Olympic keywords” – Germans for example do not use Olympics with or without hash tag, but f.e. Olympia, London, London2012, Spiele.

(Interesting: searching for the word Olympia on twitter gives results like Olympics – good job on twitters side. )

The number for UK alone should make you think twice

As to the report, the UK ‘only’ has about 3 million mentions. Hm. The UK currently goes absolutely bonkers about their home games. They even cause problems in the mobile networks “Olympics 2012: Twitter users blamed for disrupting BBC’s cycling coverage”

The BBC blamed the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) for the lack of information which left commentator Chris Boardman using his own watch to estimate timings. But the International Olympic Committee said fans sending updates to Twitter while watching the race had in effect jammed transmissions of race information.

(Tip: You can prioritize messages on the mobile networks …)

Despite those failures, the BBC pushes Twitter heavily in their broadcasts and even more the Term “Team GB”. Search for “Team GB” on twitter and you will notice that most people do not use a hash tag but just the words. Next have a look at the TeamGB twitter account:


Half a million followers – but we are to believe that UK people ‘only’ tweeted and mentioned ~3 mio times in total? That linked Youtube account above with predominantly GB oriented content has a million views alone.

Oh and the most favorite athlete to make it even to the list of all time? Tom Daley, a UK diver from the 10 meter board has ~175K mentions, that would be about 6% of the overall UK traffic. Cycler and 5x Gold winner Chris Hoy has 200k followers. Tennis pro Andy Murray has a million.

Do Americans tweet more?

I absolutely believe that in total the US does more tweeting, youtubing, facebooking in general. But even just looking at these imo flawed numbers, let’s compare it to total population:

Country Amount of Traffic % of population
US 15 million 4,81%
UK 3 million 5,10%


According to this report, there are 10 million twitter users in the UK. Come to think of it, radian6 collects this data:

Its data takes into account a total of more than 150 million sources including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube and message boards.

With this amount of data collection and that amount of crazyness through social media – do I really believe that the US has only 15 million social mentions of the Olympics either?!

I like you radian, but unless you fix the flaws, please stop making such reports

I had a look at Radian 2 years ago and while I liked their crawler mechanism, I found their reporting and analysis to be extremely lacking. Not so much a fan of the interface – I usually introduce radian6 as “pretty klickibunti interface for agencies who need shiny pictures – to be taken with lot of grains of salts but the database it good”.

But it is reports like this which make me even more suspicious of the numbers if simple analysis shows you that there is something not matching up. And if this simple stuff is not adding up – what else are they doing wrong?.

It is the “light bulb airplane test”: If your airplane has broken light bulbs which simply can be replaced or other ‘simple’ things are not done in maintenance – how secure do you feel with the rest of the airplane? Or if you like rock music more: the Van Halen brown M&M test.

The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function. So just as a little test, in the technical aspect of the rider, it would say”Article 148:There will be fifteen amperage voltage sockets at twenty-foot spaces, evenly, providing nineteenamperes . . .”This kind of thing. And articlenumber 126,in the middle of nowhere, was: “There will be no brown M&M’s in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation.”

So, when I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in thatbowl . . .well, line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error. They didn’t read the contract. Guaranteed you’d run into a problem. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show. Something like, literally, life-threatening.

Just like the M&M test, we do a simple test for probability – and if the result is the equivalent of brown M&Ms, the recommendations for clients in the future sadly still will be “good tool for the data but you cannot trust the shiny pictures …”

Now if you excuse me, I have to start my VPN tunnel so I can enjoy the good coverage and excellent video player of the BBC.

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