MTV unveiled their VMA Twitter Tracker last night at the 2010 Video Music Awards, a beautiful visualization of live Twitter activity.
The application, accessible from the web and broadcast live on MTV, displayed trending topics and tweets before, during and after the VMAs. The audience was able to hone in and contribute to topics they were most interested in, whether that was Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, or many other artists.
Upon loading the app, you were presented with the top 4 trending topics/celebrities, alongside a live count of the extensive number of tweets (over 1.3 million in the first 3 hours), and were able to watch in real time as they increased by the second. At the top of the screen, you could click to view any of 50 topics.
For each topic the number of tweets per minute was visible, and recent tweets about a selected topic were easy to access and read.
Viewers also contributed to the conversation inside the app by signing into their account and tweeting directly from the page. To make the experience even easier and more satisfying the hashtag for the selected topic was automatically entered.
Perhaps the coolest part of the app was the timeline that showed the highs and lows for activity. Throughout the night it was possible to get a clear visual as to which topic or celebrity was dominating in tweets per minute; depending upon who was on stage, this changed frequently.
MTV has always been willing to push the envelope of audience engagement, inviting their viewers to help shape not just dialog about the brand, but the brand itself. This app was a perfect example: a Social Media mash up of a live event that enabled their audience to feel as if they were a part of it no matter where they were.