Return of #NBCFail
As the Sochi Olympics approached, I began to wonder if my fleeting fame from two years ago might return … and I was not (too) disappointed.
Two years ago, as the London Olympics were about to get under way, I had been hearing from NBC a lot on their news programs (local and national) about how you’d be able to stream everything on your mobile devices so that their crappy prime time coverage wouldn’t get in the way of your enjoying the games. OK, they might not have put it quite that way, but that’s how my mind interpreted it (a subject for another post). I was excited, as we had cut the cable a couple of years before, annoyed by increasing prices and decreasing channels (yes, another post). So I went to download their app, but before I even clicked the button my suspicions were aroused by the negative reviews. It didn’t take much perusing to discover the reason for the annoyance: live streaming required a cable or satellite subscription, making the app useless to those most likely to be interested in it.
In a temporary spasm of frustration I vented as so many of us now do, but as I never had before, on Twitter. I also used a hashtag which at the time I just barely understood. See the now somewhat famous tweet:
Little did I know how that tweet would in fact change my life, certainly my online life. It being a day or two before the Olympics actually started, it turned out I was the first one to use the #NBCFail hashtag, though once the games started it became quite popular. And then someone did the research and discovered I was the first to use it, and publicized that fact. And then things got crazy.
While my post happened while we were at home in the Peoria, it blew up while we were on vacation in New Mexico celebrating my wife’s 50th birthday. With limited Internet access and not that much incentive to check things very often, I had become Twitter famous for hours before I realized it. The next several days were spent trying to arrange interviews, online, through Skype, etc., while finishing our vacation. And my Twitter followers jumped from 17 (I really didn’t use Twitter at all before then) to over 100 (we’re at around 350 now).
So to end this rather lengthy backstory, which seems to have become the story, I had to learn how to use Twitter, enjoyed the fleeting and (so far) unprofitable fame, and continued along with the rest of the country to be annoyed at how NBC can take something so easy to make enjoyable and make it, instead, very unpleasant for large numbers of people.
Flash Forward to 2014
So as the Sochi games approached, and stories of the problems became more prominent in the weeks leading up to the games, I began to reflect back and wonder if anyone would contact me about #NBCFail. I had no doubt that NBC’s coverage would continue to suck and their streaming would continue to require a subscription. Let’s not forget, after all, that thanks to the fine oversight of the FCC & FTC, NBC is a cable company also. They have no incentive to help out those of us not being ripped off by, well, them.
Well lo and behold, in the last few days before the game I did start to get a few tweets wondering if I’d be warming up #NBCFail. Not that it had completely died; I did check the hashtag every once in awhile and there’s always something for people to complain about (Ann Curry, anyone?). And of course #__fail has become a natural hashtag for all sorts of complaints. I hadn’t really planned to do anything with #NBCFail (and someone else grabbed the @NBCFail account, duh me), but really NBC just forces your hand.
So if you head over to Twitter and follow me at @stevenmarx, you will see some of my recent #NBCFail tweets, and there will probably be more to come. NBC is my only (easy) way to watch the games, even though they ensure I can’t watch them live. At least until we go to Chile in about 10 days.
But that’s a story for another few posts …