The 83rd Academy Awards were broadcast this evening. The stories that will wrap up the evening's awards, fashion, and festivities are sure to focus on the winners, on the dresses, on the really really really badly scripted banter.
But for those of us tuning in via Twitter, I'd say the show was a great success. It provided plenty of material for running commentary, historical insights, quips and quibbles. For the funniest original writing, for example, I'd give a nod to Roseanne Cash for her #JaneAustinattheOscars tweets.
All the tweets, not just those from celebrities and insiders, were vastly more entertaining than the show itself, and the reason I'd wager that a whole new crowd of curious onlookers are tuning in. It's not about watching the Oscars per se. It's about being able to participate in the online community that's watching the Oscars. It's no longer sufficient to wait for the water cooler, to invoke a tried morning-after cliche. It's about checking-in and chatting with others and sharing the broadcast together.
In addition to Twitter, another winner from this evening's event, unannounced on stage of course but featured prominently elsewhere, may be the entertainment check-in site GetGlue, which saw over 31,000 check-ins to the Oscars tonight.
In fact, the Oscars worked directly with GetGlue to help incentivize check-ins before and during the broadcast, creating a set of GetGlue stickers that could be earned when fans checked-in to the Oscars broadcast. The Academy also embedded a GetGlue widget on its website. At one point this evening, founder and CEO Alex Iskold said that one out of every 12 tweets about the broadcast was emanating from GetGlue; at the peak of the event GetGlue was seeing two shares per second.
GetGlue's partnership with the Oscars comes on the heels of its campaign with CBS for the Grammys, which coincidentally had the highest ratings in over the decade. And the partnership with GetGlue was just one of many steps that the Oscars took this year in order to capture the young demographic, one that has in previous years been uninterested in the almost century-old tradition of Hollywood's "biggest night." The Oscars also released an app for iPhone and iPad that, for $.09, gave users a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the evening's festivities. And it offered a premium service (for $4.99) to stream this content via its website.
That interest and participation in these televised events from the social media audience is becoming key. And speaking for myself, for perhaps my Twitter stream, and for thousands of Twitterati and GetGlue users, it was that real-time commentary and check-ins that made the event engaging.