Which Athletes Will Win the Social Media Olympics? [Infographic]

By Devon Glenn 

Every four years, the world’s best athletes show off their strength, speed, and stamina as they compete for the gold medal in the Summer Olympic Games. Little do they know that people like us are counting their tweets, retweets, and followers in an unofficial competition we like to call the Social Media Olympics. Who’s in the lead? We’ve got two infographics to help you decide.

In the first infographic, social influence scoring site Kred followed the hashtags #london2012 and #olympics, as well as the twitter handles for each athlete to find out who were the most engaged Olympians on Twitter.

Kred gives two scores: The first measures influence, which tracks how many mentions, follows, and shares that a person gets; the second score calculates a person’s outreach, awarding points for measuring and following others, as well as sharing their posts. You can get as many as 1,000 points for influence and up to 10 points for outreach.

Here, basketball player LeBron James takes the gold medal for a near-perfect influence score. It’s not surprising that a basketball player would have a bigger following, considering that James plays professionally for the Miami Heat outside of the Olympic games. Swimmer Michael Phelps earned a silver medal, which will look great with the one he got for the 200 meter butterfly.

In the second infographic, Bluefin Labs tracked the top 38 athletes in non-team sports, analyzing public Twitter and Facebook comments to figure out which athletes were getting the most buzz.

By this company’s calculation, Michael Phelps is the number one athlete, accounting for 31.5 percent of the conversations about Olympic athletes on social media sites overall, with 2.1 million comments just about him.

The infographic also shows the most popular athletes among men versus women, and the most talked-about sports.

The bottom line? With high scores from both angles, Michael Phelps is the athlete to watch.