• 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

  • News

    Anchorage in Transition: Paul Alcantar reveals new ideas for AWWU

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 31, 22:32

    With the election of Anchorage’s new mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, comes a new administration. All this week during the 6 p.m. Evening News, KTVA be interviewing newly appointed department heads about their plans for the future of Anchorage. Friday, we were joined by Paul Alcantar, the new director for the Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility. Alcantar […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, July 31

    by KTVA Weather on Jul 31, 21:59

    Alaska will be ending the month of July on a good note as high pressure begins to build in from the west and in the Northern Pacific. As a result, most of the southern half of the state will see a return to sunshine and warmer than average temperatures for the weekend and clear conditions […]

  • News

    Berkowitz names new Anchorage Public Transit Director

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 31, 21:55

    Anchorage’s new mayor has announced another addition to his transition team. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz chose Jody Karcz as the new Public Transit Director for the Municipality of Anchorage, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. She will replace current director Tom Wilson, who retired July 14, People Mover said in a statement. The Public […]

  • Sports

    East High School moves closer to playing football on campus

    by Dave Leval on Jul 31, 21:41

    Canyan Linderman loves football, especially for East High School. “It feels amazing to put on the wings,” Linderman said, who is entering his senior season at cornerback. Linderman and the Thunderbirds want to improve on last season’s dismal 1-7 record. This year’s team is excited about the upcoming season, and not just for what may […]

  • News

    Army’s top enlisted soldier visits JBER, talks future with soldiers

    by Bonney Bowman on Jul 31, 19:50

    At a time of uncertainty for many of Alaska’s soldiers, one of the U.S. Army’s top leaders is in the state to address their concerns. Sgt. maj. of the Army Dan Dailey visited Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson today, where 2,600 soldiers will be cut over the next couple years. As the top enlisted soldier in the Army, […]

  • Politics

    Murkowski announces upcoming ‘mobile offices’ in southeast, southcentral Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 31, 18:24

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski says Alaskans will have the chance to meet with staff members from her office during the month of August in several southcentral and southeastern communities. Staff will meet with those who have “concerns about issues and policies related to the federal government” and collect casework requests for Murkowski or other federal agencies […]

  • News

    Artist casts bodies in Bethel to highlight mental health

    by Daysha Eaton / KYUK Radio on Jul 31, 17:53

    This story originates from KYUK Public Media and was published with permission BETHEL — An artist is creating life-sized sculptures of Alaskans to tell the story of those who struggle with mental health. Sarah Davies travelled to one of the state’s most vulnerable regions, recently for a project called, ‘100 Stone’. She’s attempting to highlight the […]

  • News

    Police seek information on missing Anchorage woman

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 31, 17:02

    The Anchorage Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing woman. Danielle McCall, 25, was last seen in the Muldoon Road area on Wednesday, July 29, around 11 a.m. Police say she is believed to be driving a maroon 2006 GMC Sierra pickup truck with license plate EZY489. She is 5-feet […]