Dissecting the Coverage: What’s Dominating the Rio 2016 Olympics Conversation?

As we write this, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are in full force.

Many people have had predictions about what “all the talk” will be about for these few weeks: Zika, crime, Russian athletes, Michael Phelps’s medal count, Simone Biles, Ashton Eaton, Usain Bolt, Neymar, Djokovic, golf’s return, and who is not in attendance, just to name a few.

From now through August 21, we will be looking at what people are talking about via word clouds (including both traditional news and social media). Keep checking back here, on our blog, and on our Twitter and Facebook pages for updates. Let us know what you think by tweeting at us @EckelVaughan.

Conversation Volume Over Time

 Final Full Media Coverage Olympics

  • While traditional coverage (the blue line) has been consistent, the first spike in social conversation (the green line) occurred on Friday, August 5, in connection to the Opening Ceremony.
  • The second, much larger spike of almost 600,000 social mentions occurred on Sunday, August 7. Since then, we haven’t seen conversation levels even close to that high. See the corresponding social word bubble below. 

August 7 Olypics Bubble

  • There was a secondary social spike on Friday, August 12 with about 200,000 mentions (compared to August 7th’s 600,000). Sweden saw a large amount of conversation, most of which focused on Sweden’s win against the U.S. women’s soccer team. See corresponding social word bubble below.

August 12 Social Word Bubble


Week of August 1 (leading up to opening ceremony)

Week of August 1 Olympics Word CloudOpening Ceremony (August 5, 2016)

Opening Ceremony Olympics Word Cloud

First weekend (August 6-7, 2016)  

First Weekend Olympics Word Cloud

Week 1 (August 8-14)

FINAL week 8.8 Olympics coverage

Results from traditional and social mentions combined focus on women, Brazil, Americans, and Phelps.

Week of August 8 FULL social Coverage
Results from social mentions alone focus on gymnastics, India, Michael Phelps, swimming, the World Cup, and Sweden. 

Week 2 (August 15-21)

FINAL week 8.8 Olympics coverage