• 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

    Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Day 2: Courting the Native vote

    by Rhonda McBride on Oct 24, 23:31

    Candidates have traditionally courted the Alaska Native vote at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. But this election-season ritual has reached a fever pitch this year. Some of that could be due to the formation of the Unity ticket; the merged campaigns of Bill Walker, who was running as an independent candidate for governor, and […]

  • News

    Steese Highway collision kills 1

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 24, 23:00

    One person is dead and another injured following a head-on crash outside Fairbanks Friday night, Alaska State Troopers said. The collision on the Steese Highway near Hagelbarger Avenue was reported to troopers in Fairbanks just before 7:15 p.m., according to an AST dispatch. One person was seriously injured and later succumbed to their injuries, troopers […]

  • News

    South Anchorage crash injures 1, temporarily closes highway

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 24, 22:15

    Both lanes of the Seward Highway were closed for more than two hours Friday evening following a two-vehicle collision that left one person hospitalized. According to the Anchorage Police Department, the crash happened just after 5:30 p.m. near the highway’s intersection with O’Malley Road. A vehicle heading north crossed the median and hit another vehicle […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 24

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 24, 19:58

     

  • News

    Dam expansion increases Sitka’s power production

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 24, 19:44

    The Blue Lake Project in Sitka is set to dramatically increase the production of hydroelectricity for the city. Five miles out of town, up a one-lane dirt road, tucked into the mountains, construction crews work on the expansion in the windy canyon. The project is so massive it takes Alaska’s largest, 600-ton crane to make […]

  • News

    Anchorage mom loses boxing match, still wins big

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 24, 19:18

    Maria Edwards had never boxed before she got in the ring Thursday night at the Egan Center. But she had a good reason for taking part in Anchorage’s Thursday Night Fights: She was trying to earn enough cash to afford gymnastic lessons for her 3-year-old son. Edwards had her eye on the prize money, $50 […]

  • News

    Complaints lead to towing ordinance update

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 24, 18:46

    Anchorage residents who are angry over inconsistent and often exorbitant towing fees may soon see some relief. The Anchorage Assembly discussed a proposed amendment to the municipal towing ordinance Friday. The amendment would cap the price of non-consensual tows, such as when cars are towed from private lots, at $225. It also prevents towing companies from […]

  • News

    Assembly debates software program audit

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 24, 18:06

    Anchorage Assembly members met Friday to discuss how to best move forward with the municipality’s troubled software overhaul. Members debated conducting an independent audit of the SAP program, which is designed to automate many aspects of government, including payroll. But the program is three years overdue and more than $20 million over budget. Assembly members […]