The Oscars were big on social media, but not as big as the Super Bowl, according to Twitter, which released figures comparing the two televised mega-events: the movie awards broadcast garnered a total of 8.98 million tweets over the course of the evening, including both the endless, mindless “red carpet” portion of the evening and the awards themselves. That compares to a total of 24 million tweets for the Super Bowl.
These figures correspond (roughly) to proportions for social media activity overall, as measured by Trendrr: the social media measurement platform tallied 13.2 million social interactions of various kinds for the Oscars, compared to 47.7 million interactions for this year’s Super Bowl. Both figures represent big increases over the same events in 2012, with social interactions around this year’s Oscars up 197% from last year, and social interactions around the Super Bowl up 174% from 17.4 million around last year’s game. The disparity is especially noteworthy because the events were roughly comparable in length (4:14 for the Super Bowl, including the blackout, versus 3:35 for the Oscars).
It’s interesting that the Super Bowl outpaced the Oscars by such a large margin, and a bit surprising if you come at the issue with certain preconceived notions, particularly about social media and gender (yes, I’m talking about my notions now). Considering that women supposedly outnumber men on social media, and that the Oscars have been described with some reason as the “Super Bowl for women,” the figures pretty much run counter to what I would expect. I’d be interested to hear what readers think about this. One possibility, of course, is that since the TV ratings for the Oscars look strong (up 4% from last year’s broadcast, according to Nielsen figures released by ABC) maybe people were simply -- gasp -- watching the awards instead of compulsively tweeting about them? There was also no unscheduled blackout during the Oscars, which was pretty much an invitation to take to social media during the Super Bowl, if only to kill time.
Anyway, the night’s strongest social media moments, as registered by Twitter, were pretty much what you might expect: Best Picture going to Argo topped the Twitter charts at 85,300 tweets per minute (and oh yeah, it’s time for the humiliating walk back on my forecast of Lincoln taking Best Picture). Adele’s performance of the Skyfall theme song came second at 82,300 tweets .per minute, and Jennifer Lawrence’s hapless turn in the spotlight to accept Best Actress took third place with 71,600 tweets. The First Lady’s surprise appearance via video feed to present Best Picture trailed with just 43,500 tweets per minute.
Of course it’s not a real Oscars unless someone says something hopelessly inappropriate and offensive, and that moment came courtesy of the satirical site The Onion, which referred to Quvenzhané Wallis, the 9-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, with an unprintable epithet on Twitter, and was promptly excoriated by the entire U.S. online population. No surprise, an apology was duly issued (note to The Onion: Mencken was a lot funnier without being such a potty mouth).