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

  • Brendan O'Hallarn Old Dominion University
  • Stephen Shapiro Old Dominion University
Keywords: Olympics, Internet, Twitter, NBC, Social Movement Theory


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.

Author Biographies

Brendan O'Hallarn, Old Dominion University
Brendan O'Hallarn is a doctoral sport management student and public relations specialist with Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
Stephen Shapiro, Old Dominion University
Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
How to Cite
O’Hallarn, B., & Shapiro, S. (2014). #NBCFail: A qualitative review of the shared experience as a social movement. First Monday, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i1.4760