Attack Of The Tweets: MTV's Movie Awards Twitter Visualization Graph

I was hit with a reminder this Sunday morning that I am indeed no longer a 15-year-old teenager. But if you are a Bieber-Swift-Pattinson-Stewart-OMGVampires-loving tween/teen, then boy does MTV have a Twitter visualization map for you. In honor of this evening’s MTV Movie Awards, the digital team at MTV have rolled out a highly interactive (almost too interactive) Twitter live-graph that will tell you via text and dynamic visuals what are the top trending topics/people related to the Awards show, how many tweets per minute each topic is averaging, and the content of those tweets. Sound overwhelming? It is, but it’s also pretty engaging— even if you’re an over-the-hill teen.

This is how it works. Once you open the site, there is an opaque overlay with simple instructions: the visual graph contains pictures of the most popular topics/people that moment (calculated in 60 second increments), as a topic becomes more popular the image will grow, with the most popular topic holding court in the center of the graph, if you click on an image you can access all the related tweets. Not surprisingly, when I logged on this morning, it looked like a partial promo for the Twilight series, with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart’s enlarged faces eerily presiding over the frenetic scene. The visual graph is constantly moving because each image is comprised of shifting squares (that move according to popularity of the topic). There are also two other notable features: a timeline on the bottom and a “stripped” screen that will show you the top twelve topics in pseudo-bar-graph form (as users tweet, their names zooms across the screen). Once again, it’s a study in visual overload— but probably perfectly appropriate when you consider the chaos that is Twitter and MTV’s target demographic.

This is not the first time MTV has experimented with a Twitter visualization graph. MTV launched version 1.0 last September for the 2009 Video Music Awards. The main difference in this new version is that users can now connect with their Twitter account on the platform and submit tweets directly. Far from an experimental side project, the company plans on using the graph format for all of its award shows moving forward. Kurk Patat, an MTV spokesman, says it’s all about creating the most interactive forum for live discussion. “The conversation is already taking place,” Patat says. “We want to be where that conversation is taking place.”