Twitter's grand ambitions for the 2012 Olympics seem to be off to a mixed start. On the positive side, the service saw 9.66 million mentions of the Opening Ceremony from the start of the event at 8:00PM in London until the end of the delayed US broadcast. For the most part, the chosen time period eliminates anticipatory tweets about the event (with the exception of US viewers, who had to wait for NBC's delayed broadcast of the Opening Ceremony). On the negative side, many US viewers took to Twitter to express their displeasure with NBC's decision not to stream the Opening or Closing ceremonies, which Twitter may not be too happy about considering their decision to partner with NBC on Olympics coverage.
Twitter has grown exponentially over the past few years — a single day last week had more tweets total than during the entirety of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, according to a recent blog post. In 2008, the service saw just 300,000 tweets per day, not counting spam. The company's growing user base, its recent moves to curate news on important events, and the partnership that turned the service into the "official narrator" of the 2012 Olympics all show Twitter wants to become a significant media outlet in its own right. Now we just need to see whether those ambitions will be contained in a walled garden.