Tweeting the Olympics - new special section out, open access

Following their major project with BBC World Service during the London 2012 Olympic Games, Marie Gillespie and Ben O'Loughlin have published a set of research articles in the open-access audience research journal Participations. The special section is entitled, 'Tweeting the Olympics: International broadcasting soft power and social media'. It began when Gillespie and O'Loughlin coordinated a team to design Twitter research to evalute how the BBC was engaging audiences during the 2012 Games in Arabic, Russian, Persian and English language services. This evolved into a broader set of studies of television and digital media, of soft power and public diplomacy, and stretched to cover the Sochi 2014 Winter Games. We hope the research will encourage others to think about how they study global media events.

We are delighted that a range of young scholars have published research papers below, including the New Political Communication Unit's Billur Aslan and James Dennis. Thanks to the editor Martin Barker and to Anne Barnsdale, Jemma Ahmed and Mohammad Ziyadah at the BBC. We hope you enjoy the articles.

Gillespie, Marie & Ben O’Loughlin:

‘Editorial Introduction: International news, social media and soft power: The London and Sochi Olympics as global media events’

Burchell, Kenzie & Ben O’Loughlin, Marie Gillespie & Eva Nieto McAvoy:

‘Soft power and its audiences: Tweeting the Olympics from London 2012 to Sochi 2014’

Dennis, James, Marie Gillespie & Ben O’Loughlin:

‘Tweeting the Olympics: Towards a methodological framework for Big Data analysis of audience engagement during global media events’

Procter, Rob, Alex Voss & Ilia Lvov:

‘Audience research and social media data: Opportunities and challenges’

Willis, Alistair, Ali Fisher & Ilia Lvov:

‘Mapping networks of influence: Tracking Twitter conversations through time and space’

Shreim, Nour:

‘Tweeting the Olympics: Transcending national, religious and gender identities on BBC Arabic’

Voss, Alex & Marzieh Asgari-Targhi:

‘The inescapable history and politics of Anglo-Iranian relations: Audience engagement with BBC Persian on social media during the London 2012 Olympics’

Aslan, Billur, James Dennis & Ben O’Loughlin:

‘Balding goes trolling? Cross-media amplification of controversy at the 2012 Olympics’

Aslanyan, Anna & Marie Gillespie:

‘The Russian-language Twittersphere, the BBC World Service and the London Olympics’

Hutchings, Stephen Marie Gillespie, Ilya Yablokov, Ilia Lvov & Alexander Voss:

‘Staging the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 on Russia Today and BBC World News: From soft power to geopolitical crisis’ 

Burchell, Kenzie: ‘Infiltrating the space, hijacking the platform: Pussy Riot, Sochi protests, and media events’