• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 32s

Tradition and technology merge at the Arctic Winter Games

By Hope Miller 3:29 PM March 21, 2014

A week-long event where old meets new

By Hope Miller. Posted Friday, March 21, 2014. 

ANCHORAGE - Bringing people together is a cornerstone of the Arctic Winter Games, and a social media storm surrounding the week-long event is furthering that goal.

Including Alaska, nine contingents across the circumpolar north are gathered in Fairbanks, competing in events that range from ancestral traditions to sports like basketball and table tennis.

Two thousand young athletes are participating, but they’re also taking time to tweet, Facebook and post photos to Instagram in a way that’s hard to miss if you’re following the games. When they’re in full swing during the day, you can expect a tweet or retweet on the AWG 2014 account every couple minutes.

It’s what Andrew Cassel, co-chairman of the social media committee for AWG, said he hoped would happen.

Also the multimedia coordinator at University of Alaska Fairbanks, Cassel started hashing out a social media strategy for the games about a year ago, he said.

Cassel said he wanted to incorporate all the best parts of social media to “let more people around the world know what these games are.”

Beyond educating people who live outside the circumpolar north, Cassel said he also wanted to connect competitors from the eight other contingents with their friends and family members back home.

It seems to be working. On Facebook, analytics indicate a large chunk of people perusing the social media platform are based in places like Greenland and Canada, Cassel said.

On Instagram, it’s mostly the participants who are posting square-shaped, vintage-looking photos and videos, he said.

But what’s been the real success, Cassel said, is the use of the games’ hashtag, #AWG2014.

By Friday morning, there were more than 3,000 Instagram pictures that used the #AWG2014. The published posts feature everything from medal selfies to athletes in action to memorabilia snapshots. The tweets are too vast to count. An official AWG pin with the hashtag on it epitomizes the social media focus of this year’s games.

Cassel and the participants are by no means alone in their social media endeavors. About 30 volunteers, who work in four-hour shifts, are assisting too, Cassel said. They watch the games, tweet and take pictures.

Contingents also have media liaisons with fast-moving fingers to help.

Kennis Brady, the Team Alaska media liaison, said a social media outpouring is inevitable when you get a bunch of young people in close quarters for an extended period of time.

But it’s a positive frenzy, she said. With venues that are spread out and a jam-packed schedule, social media helps keep competitors, spectators and families plugged in.

Maya Narang, 16, and Grace Lee, 14, are figure skating medalists for Team Alaska and avid tweeters, they said. They’ve also been posting plenty on Facebook and Twitter, sharing their experiences at the Arctic Winter Games with friends and family.

For Maya and Grace, making new friends from other countries is one of the best aspects of the games, they said. And social media will help them stay in touch long after the games are over.

Latest Stories

  • Crime

    Man charged with murder in South Anchorage gas station shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 26, 8:37

    The Anchorage Police Department has charged a man in the shooting death of another man in the parking lot of a South Anchorage Holiday gas station Wednesday night. According to a statement from APD Thursday morning, 23-year-old Andrew Robertson-Goughnour shot and killed 19-year-old Brandon Merritt near the gas pumps at the gas station on Abbott […]

  • News

    After large outage, MEA restores power to all customers

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 22:35

    Last updated at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 26 Just before 9 a.m. Thursday, the Matanuska Electric Association shared on Twitter that all customers affected by a large outage had their power restored. All power has been restored. Damage to a major transmission line sure caused problems! Thank you for your patience over the past […]

  • Crime

    Shooting at South Anchorage gas station leaves 1 dead

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 21:25

    Last updated at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 26 Anchorage police have charged 23-year-old Andrew Robertson-Goughnour for the shooting death of 19-year-old Brandon Merritt near the gas pumps at the Holiday on Abbott Road Wednesday evening. He’s been charged with murder in the first and second degree. [View complete update] Original Story The Anchorage Police […]

  • News

    A look inside a classified Cold War-era antenna site, now shut down

    by Bonney Bowman on May 25, 19:49

    After 50 years monitoring radio waves, the AN/FLR 9 antenna array on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was shut down Wednesday. The site, also known as the “elephant cage,” is a relic from the Cold War. At 40 acres in size and standing 120 feet tall, the antenna array stands mostly unchanged from when it was built […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bean’s Café chef hoping to win Food Network challenge

    by Shannon Ballard on May 25, 19:08

    Shawn Dinkins is a chef at Bean’s Café who helps serve around 800 hot meals daily and is almost always hustling to make sure lunch is ready on time for those who might not otherwise have it. “I know I could have worked at any other restaurant and I love restaurants, but this is where my […]

  • News

    Anchorage gets first canine wildlife inspector

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 25, 18:53

    He may seem like an unlikely hero, but U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife officers are hoping Dock, an 18-month-old Labrador retriever who started life as a shelter dog, can help them solve a serious problem. Anchorage is one of the busiest cargo hubs in the world, but not everything that comes through the state […]

  • News

    Kittens in need of foster families

    by Bonney Bowman on May 25, 18:29

    Anchorage Animal Care and Control (AACC) says it is seeing an influx of kittens and needs more people to care for them by fostering them. The goal of fostering is to socialize the kittens and get them ready for adoption. Jay Jackson has been a kitten foster mom for four years, and said it’s rewarding […]

  • Crime

    DOC commissioner calls officer’s arrest a victory for new unit

    by Eric Ruble on May 25, 16:55

    The Department of Corrections said Wednesday the arrest of one of their own was frustrating for commissioner Dean Williams, but a small victory for a new DOC internal affairs unit. At a press conference, Williams credited the successful investigation and arrest of Goose Creek Corrections officer Adam Spindler, 32, to the commissioner’s new Professional Conduct […]