January 21, 2013

Lance Armstrong Swallowed Whole by Social Media After Doping Debacle


For the first time since being denounced and stripped of his Tour de France titles, Lance Armstrong sat down with media mogul Oprah Winfrey this month, where he promptly confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his unbeatable cycling career. Not only that, but he confessed to being involved in a systematic doping ring that spanned several countries, involving code words, private jets and secret blood transfusions, among other things.

He told the AP that he would answer Winfrey’s questions “directly, honestly and candidly,” and boy, did he ever. With a simple “yes,” he answered Winfrey as she shot a round of fast-paced questions at him, where he also confessed he personally didn’t think it would be possible to achieve the feat he had without doping.

“I viewed it as very simple,” a disheveled Armstrong told Winfrey. Apparently, Twitter’s millions of users also saw this situation as “very simple,” as a recent study of negative responses posted to the social media site during the confession displayed.

"The tone of the discussion around the Oprah Winfrey interview highlighted the level of disappointment and anger that exists. It's clear the public are far from ready to forgive Lance Armstrong," explained Charlie Dundas of sports market research company, Repucom.

Armstrong’s highly anticipated confession generated 1.9 million Twitter posts between Jan. 14 and 20, Repucom reports – or about 2,200 tweets per minute. That’s almost as many tweets that were sent over the course of the two-weeks of 2012’s March Madness, which accrued a cool two million, but only taking half of the time to do so.

Among the busiest of nations buzzing about Armstrong’s confession was America, which accounted for more than one-quarter of those tweeting, closely followed by Australia. Today, it’s very easy to see how just how much of the world is feeling about any given topic – from sports to holidays to last year’s presidential election. For example, 6,939 tweets were sent per second pertaining to New Year’s, 4,064 per second regarded last year’s Super Bowl and 3,996 tweets were sent per second mentioning the royal wedding, according to Media Bistro’s Twitter year in review.

But that also means it’s just as easy to differentiate when they’re mad or disappointed.

With a quick sweep of the keys in Twitter’s search engine with the words “Lance Armstrong,” at the moment, it’s being tweeted that an Australian library has moved all of its Lance Armstrong books to the fiction section. Ouch.

It’s incredible to see just how prevalent social media has become today. It’s truly an influential force to be reckoned with. After six years since its introduction, Twitter alone has established its presence in the big worldwide Web as something that can truly make or break a celebrity. Today, you don’t need to go by hearsay to see if there’s negative feedback about you – you can literally read it in your newsfeed. Hopefully, Armstrong hasn’t been too burned by the scorching comments circulating social media as of late.




Edited by Rachel Ramsey



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