PR Perspective: Our Two Cents (Or Rubles) on @SochiProblems

In the days leading up to the Olympics Opening Ceremony in Sochi, the Twitter account @SochiProblems was created, went viral and surpassed the Olympics official Twitter account with more than 300 thousand followers.

When I discovered the @SochiProblems handle filled with media retweets and sarcastic remarks poking fun at the ill-prepared Sochi, Russia, I thought it was hilarious! It gave Americans a comical inside scoop on one side of happenings in Sochi complete with makeshift showers, broken sidewalks and dirty faucet water.

Soon @SochiProblems went viral and began to flood US media outlets. It was then that I realized America had hit the tipping point and @SochiProblems began to distort the public perception of reality.

This is most evident by the various social media posts from some of our industry friends and contacts. For example, Mike Jaquet, chief marketing officer for the US Ski Team, posted the following on his Facebook page upon arriving in Sochi, “Hotel is super nice and the view is out of this world! Don’t believe the hype! “ The photos he’s been posting over the last week have been amazing!

Another colleague, cameraman Stephen Fort posted the following before the games began, “Another beautiful day in Sochi, don’t believe the media. These games are going to be great. Sure construction is going on 24 hours a day and each day it looks closer to an Olympic event….”

In addition, some of @SochiProblems tweets are simply cultural differences and have nothing to do with the Olympic Games. Read #SochiProblems is More of an Embarrasment for America than it is for Russia.

Cultural differences and construction aside, the Sochi games have provided the media with a wealth of content. Although they may have started a little rocky with negative social media hype, Sochi has secured its place in the international spotlight and is sure to be on the radar as a new travel destination.