Displaying live social media feeds in event environments creates a new way to connect with an audience, but the real challenge lies in making the content appear more interesting than just text on a screen. Even if all the tweets and timeline updates are relevant to what’s going on at an event, the presentation can sometimes be, well…not so visually appealing.
But tech solutions providers are addressing that potential problem, and an innovative social media display recently wowed attendees at an advertising launch event for Hennessy in New York City’s meatpacking district. Verve Management leveraged a Twitter feed wall that took social media presentation for events to the next level.
“The brand wanted a big event that would catch the media’s attention, but also wanted to communicate their message. Since social media was integrated into the ad campaign, the brand wanted to have a social media element in the event, so the people attending were immersed in the idea of the campaign—but also because they wanted viral activity from the event to spread online,” Verve Management ceo Ryan Kristopher.
There are a number of off-the-shelf Twitter wall software programs out there, but for the most part these simply provide and display a traditional information feed of what’s going on. The Verve team focuses on taking that information from Twitter and presenting it in new and interesting ways. The software displays the Twitter feed info, but also shows the viral elements, re-tweets and contexts of conversations people are having about the subject.
“Our goal is to create a new visualization that shows these other elements. It shows all the tweets coming in in real time, but it also shows how they relate to each other in a big cloud of tweets. So you can see how they connect, the conversations going on, specific profiles and who’s re-tweeting what,” Kristopher says.
Attendees could either tweet at the brand’s profile directly, or use the #wildrabbit hash tag to get their messages on the visualization board.
For this event, the client wanted to go big. The main display was projected up onto a 20-by-20-foot white wall. But at an event with so many people tweeting at once, how do you filter all of the messages? Verve created a system where user avatars appeared in a cloud, and the newest tweets appeared at the center of the display and were the largest.
Once there was enough volume, the tweets became weighted. For example, if someone tweeted a message that was re-tweeted 10 times, it was be featured larger than messages that hadn’t been shared. Or if there were 10 tweets going back in forth in conversation, that cluster would be shown more prominently than a single tweet that no one found interesting.
“We though that was really important because not only do we want to show what’s going on, but we want to highlight conversations and statements that others think are important or interesting,” Kristopher says.
Filtering out offensive language was also built into the program, and the Verve team was monitoring the feed live to make sure everything went smoothly, as well.
The launch event debuted Hennessy’s new “Wild Rabbit” ad campaign, and featured a performance from singer Erykah Badu. However, when an unannounced performance from mega-stars Missy Elliot and Timbaland started up, the Twitter board came to life.
“The crowd just went crazy, and it was really cool seeing people tweet their reactions in real time. You could really see the viral aspect. It added an extra level of excitement to the event, because people could step away and see everyone’s excitement in one big visualization,” Kristopher says.
The other part of the presentation involved models walking around the event, taking snapshot of attendees with iPads. These pictures were then automatically uploaded to the Verve team’s laptops, and the Twitter wall would periodically switch to display digitally manipulated images of the partygoers.
“We would recreate the photos using phrases and words that related to the campaign. Someone would have their picture taken, and within 15 minutes of being processed, they could then see themselves blown up on the wall—but all the pixels and colors in the photo were regenerated using these keywords. We made them literally a part of the advertising campaign. At the end of the event, the brand put the photos up on Facebook so attendees could share them,” Kristopher says.
It was just another way to get the brand’s message out.