Social Media: Breathing New Life Into Traditional Events
by Kathleen Donnelly on 03/05/2014
Can anyone really doubt the power and reach of social media these days? Whether you work directly with social media in a professional capacity, or rely on it for personal reasons, the power of social media is real. Case in point? The 2014 Oscars.
What Happened at the Oscars?
Not only did host Ellen DeGeneres capitalize on social media (Twitter to be particular), but tweets from DeGeneres, celebrity attendees and even TV viewers were nonstop, with users giving their own play-by-play and review of the night’s festivities. In the last few years, traditional events such as award shows, annual conferences and similar events have capitalized on social media to keep audiences intrigued and involved.
Because honestly, who doesn’t care about my opinions on Jennifer Lawrence tripping AGAIN or saying a social prayer of thanks that Matthew McConaughey wins an Oscar for having to lose 30-plus pounds for Dallas Buyers Club (hello – that deserves at least one Oscar #torture).
Although some critics are debating on whether Ellen overdid it with social media this year, her efforts were so sucessful that Twitter literally shut down when Ellen tweeted a selfie with Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts and countless other megastars. Now in the record books, this shot was retweeted nearly 2.6 MILLION times. Needless to say, that is social media Oscar gold, ladies and gentlemen (and Twitter deserves its own acceptance speech at this point).
Well, Did It Work?
According to LA Times, it was truly in the world of Twitter and social media where the Oscars really shined (pun intended). In its recap, LA Times concluded, “During the telecast 11.2 million tweets poured forth from 2.8 million unique users – a 75 percent increase from last year’s activity.” Needless to say, that is a HUGE increase. Even in the days following, the interaction increased and Ellen's famous selfie tweet now stands with more than 3 million retweets.
Another win? Since the selfie was snapped with a Samsung (an official sponsor of the Oscars #teamiPhone), they offered to donate $1 for every retweet – for a total of $3 million – to charities of Ellen’s choice. #winning.
But was all of the social media activity actually successful in increasing viewership for the show? Some critics are still debating, but the facts are pretty convincing. An average of 43 million viewers tuned in to the awards ceremony, according to Nielsen, a 6 percent increase compared to last year’s total. Another convincing stat? ABC estimated that nearly 72 million viewers watched at least six minutes of the program. Talk about sweeping every category, right?!
What Are The Takeaways?
After such a large social turnout, I expect social media coverage of events (both large and on a smaller scale) to continue to skyrocket. Social media usage at the Oscars stands as a perfect example and testament to how it can be incorporated into telecasts, both live and scheduled, but especially live.
Overall, social media is here to stay, no question about it. The one item I am still questioning, however, is why didn’t I get a slice of that pizza?