Daley hits one million Twitter followers after social media controversy
Saturday, 04 August 2012
August 4 - Britain's teenage diving star Tom Daley now has over one million Twitter followers after his fourth-place finish in the 10-metre synchronised diving competition at the Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park this week saw him embroiled in a controversial episode on the social media platform.
The 18-year-old from Plymouth had around 200,000 followers in the six months prior to the Olympics, but this grew to 300,000 on the eve of London 2012.
But according to social media tracker starcount.com, his popularity on Twitter exploded when he and diving partner Pete Waterfield took to action determined to win a medal to honour Daley's father Rob, who died last year.
Despite leading the event at the half-way stage, a terrible fourth dive cost the pairing a medal and subsequently a Twitter troll wrote on his page: "You let your dad down I hope you know that."
It came from Weymouth teenager @Rileyy_69, who later apologised, but it sparked one of the most extraordinary social media surges in British history as an outpouring of sympathy, including messages of support from stars such as Cheryl Cole, saw Daley's account explode.
It also saw @Rileyy_69 exceed 50,000 followers despite his police arrest over the incident.
"In all, Tom has amassed 630,000 Twitter followers and 390,000 Facebook fans in the last seven days," said a statement from starcount.com.
"This makes Tom not only the fastest growing Twitter user in the Olympics, but the top Twitterer in the entire world this week – exceeding even Lady Gaga, the Queen of Twitter, in new followers.
"It has also placed Tom within the top three of starcount.com's daily chart of social trending Olympians every day this week.
"Tom is also currently at number two among United Kingdom Olympic athletes in all time social media popularity, behind Andy Murray."
As it stands, Daley is the second most popular Olympian on starcount.com, one place behind American gymnast Jordyn Wieber, who has won gold at London 2012, and one place ahead of American swimming icon Michael Phelps, who became the most medalled Olympian at these Games.
Daley with have a chance at redemption in the 10m individual platform event, which is his strongest discipline, and a medal-winning performance is likely to cement his position as the social media phenomenon of London 2012.