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How The 2014 MTV VMAs Sparked Over 9 Million Social Media Posts

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This post is the second of a multi-part series with our partner Sysomos, exploring how social media impacts our world. 

 

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Ever since the days when MTV played music videos 24/7, the MTV VMAs (the popular short form of Video Music Awards) have been a really big deal to the younger generation of music fans.Since the first VMA in 1984, music artists have known that the youth of America, who primarily dictate the ever changing state of current popular music, will completely accept them if they receive a coveted “moon man” statuette to put on their mantel.

While the MTV VMAs have always been a big deal, as social media came into its own, it gave way for a whole new platform for people to connect over the “super bowl for youth,” both for fans and artists. It’s given them a way to turn this event into an interactive experience. Whether it be by live tweeting what they’re seeing to creating gifs for Tumblr of their favourite moments from the show just minutes after they happened live.

Social media has become a huge piece of the VMA puzzle, so we thought it would be interesting to look a little bit more into the numbers behind it.

Using Sysomos’s industry leading social media monitoring and analytics software, Sysomos MAP, we looked across social media channel from Sunday through Monday (to see the day of the show and the follow-ups the day after) for mentions of the VMAs (and other major variations of it).

In just those two days well over 9 million pieces of social content were created that made mention of the VMAs. First, we found that the VMAs were mentioned in 7,953 blog posts, 15,053 online news articles, 3,928 forum postings and an impressive 9,190,842 tweets.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary Around VMAs

We then took those numbers and plotted them out over the two days on our popularity chart and saw something very interesting that speaks to how people are using different elements of social media. First off, a look at the chart below shows that Twitter mainly drove all conversation around the VMAs, by so much that it actually out shadows the three other channels. The other thing that we can see is that Twitter surged on the day of the show as people live tweeted their way through the red carpet, performances, and the actual awards.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart for VMAs Across Social Channels

However, when we remove Twitter mentions from the chart we can see that while blogs, forums and online news were talking about the show on the day of, they really surged on the day after by posting all of their follow-up to the VMAs content. What this tells us is that Twitter is used mainly for the real-time as it happens insights, while most other mediums seem to be better for reactions after the fact.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart of VMAs Without Twitter

But these weren’t the only social channels where the VMAs were popular. When we looked at video content created over those same two days that were tagged with or had VMAs in their description, (across sites like YouTube, Vimeo and others) we found 7,367 different videos.

Sysomos MAP - Video Activity Summary of VMAs Videos

On Tumblr, a network known for its visual content and a favorite place for youth to share gifs, we found 295,647 different posts that were VMAs focused over Sunday and Monday.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary of VMAs on Tumblr

Even Instagram users created 494,581 pictures that were tagged with the #VMAs hashtag.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary of VMAs on Instagram

Other interesting things to note about the social popularity of the VMAs; when we looked a little bit deeper at the people tweeting about the VMAs, we found that the awards seemed to be more popular with females. Only 35 percent of all the tweets about the VMAs over Sunday and Monday were created by men. Women produced the remaining 65 percent.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary of VMAs on Twitter

That also speaks to how certain artists are seen. From looking at cultural events in the past that youth are involved in, we’ve seen many times over that artists like Justin Beiber and One Direction get retweeted frequently. However, when we looked at the most retweeted tweets around the VMAs, all of the top six are from members of the band 5 Seconds of Summer. Are these guys the new 1D?

Sysomos MAP - Most Retweeted Tweets Containing VMAs

When we looked at where mentions of the VMAs were coming from across all channels we found that 59.4 percent of all mentions came from the USA. That’s not very surprising seeing as the awards show is American based (MTV does a separate VMAs for their European market).

Sysomos MAP - Country Distribution of VMAs Mentions Across Channels

While the USA did out shadow the rest of the world talking about the VMAs, a geo-location heat map of Twitter mentions reveals that the rest of the world was also engaged in the event. The USA still shows the most Twitter mentions, but we can also see on the map that Twitter users around the world were participating in the conversation.

Sysomos MAP - Geo Location Heat Map of Tweets About The VMAs

So, what was everyone actually talking about? A look at our buzzgraph (which shows words being commonly used in the conversation and how they’re connected) and word cloud show that almost all of the talk was around peoples’ favourite artists that were attending, winning or performing at the VMAs. The two artists that seem to stand out the most though are Beyoncé, who did a 16 minute performance and received the MTV Michael Jackson Vide0 Vangard award (a lifetime achievement award), and Miley Cyrus, who’s Wrecking Ball won video of the year and was accepted by an unknown man named Jesse who spoke to the audience about homeless youth in America on behalf of Miley. The only thing that did not fit in with the category of artists is the appearance of Suge Knight in the text analytics. However, Knight’s name appears because of an incident at a VMAs pre-party that left him injured and made headlines all day on Sunday.

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph of Conversations Around The VMAs

Sysomos MAP - Word Cloud of Conversations Around The VMAs

About Sysomos

A Marketwired company, Sysomos is a leading global provider of cutting-edge social media analytics and monitoring technology for brands, businesses and agencies. Learn more about Sysomos here.

This post is the second of a multi-part series with our partner Sysomos, exploring how social media impacts our world. To read the first post in the series, click here.




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