Best (and worst) social TV moments of the Oscars

This year’s Academy Awards on ABC was infused with social media and second-screen experiences, top to bottom. So much so, we were juggling apps and devices — three different hosted live streams during the red carpet show — which was a bit out of control. While the show didn’t offer many (if any) smashing viral moments, there were some terrific second-screen developments and a few memorable social media tidbits.

(Update: The Oscars falls well short of social TV records Super Bowl and Grammys)

Best on-screen Twitter integration goes to…

Last year, it was news when the #Oscars hashtag appeared on the screen. This year, that’s par for the course, but a red carpet Twitter integration caught our eye. Users were asked to tweet with #bestdressed and the name of the celebrity to vote for their favorites. Every 30 minutes or so, the red carpet hosts announced the top three, in a simple bottom-third graphic (below). It was easy, clean and consistent with the show. There have been hashtag votes in other shows before, but I think this illustrates how you don’t always need a big trending dashboard thing to make Twitter a valuable interactive element of a show.

Biggest Oscars publicity stunt…

“Part of me thought he’d be up to something,” Ryan Seacrest said live on E! after Sasha Baron Cohen, dressed as “The Dictator,” dumped fake ashes on him. “When someone asks what you’re wearing, you’ll tell them Kim Jong Il!” Cohen yelled. Other than the fashions, this stunt was the subject of many red carpet tweets.

Oscars moment that turned into a Twitter account…

The best second-screen experience goes to…

There are a few winners here. During pre-show, we liked the IntoNow experience (below) that gave users the ability to “like” or “dislike” fashions by displaying photos (with about a 5-10 minute delay) from the red carpet. After you voted, you could see how others reacted.

During the show itself, the Oscars app provided multiple backstage live streams and a hosted experience, too. We found it distracting during the show — unless there was a particular winner we wanted to track backstage (after all, producers cut off people after about 30 seconds at the microphone.) For example, when the emotional Octavia Spencer left the stage, we watched as she made her way backstage, could barely talk into the “thank you” camera, then went to the press room for more. You could watch in a six-screen split (our favorite) or watch the ticker to see what was happening on various cameras. Very well done.

Also during the show, Viggle surprised us the most. The TV rewards app provided a slick real-time poll (below) that’s one of the best second-screen experiences we’ve seen. Perfectly in time with the broadcast, Viggle asked for predictions the moment a presenter approached the stage. It locked the votes seconds before they were read. Then it displayed the winner (awarding points accordingly) moments after it was announced. In each case, it prompted the user with a sound effect — the sound of a projector — which could be disabled easily. During other moments, it served up trivia questions (and you could get hints via Bing searches — yep, it was sponsored Bing.) All in all, the points all added up to real rewards.

On the conversation front, Twitter wins again. Twitter’s owned apps and may not be perfect, but they’re still better than other second-screen apps with Twitter clients for posting tweets. And definitely better than other second-screen apps running on their own discussion platform that have yet to gain any scale — those apps weren’t empty rooms this time, but the quality of discussion was dramatically lacking. This time, Twitter even pulled together its own list of live-tweeters for the show — probably not the last time we’ll see Twitter organizing content production (instead of just platform technology) around live events.

The best new second-screen feature is…

Umami rolled out a feature before the Oscars that’s one of the best we’ve seen on the second screen: a simple way to “screen grab” an image of what you’re watching on TV and sharing it with your friends (below). Umami lets you sync with the broadcast, then click “freeze frame” to choose from several images snapped from the broadcast over the last 30 seconds or so. Pick one, then share it out with your friends. Snazzy.

Weirdest second-screen moment is…

At one moment during the red carpet pre-show, I was watching three live streams at the same time — all hosted by different people — on TV, online and the Oscars app. And at one point, Milla Jovovich was “live” on two separate streams at once. Hmmm.

During the show, the official account @theAcademy tweeted gems like this one. Over and over again. (Spoiler alert? Now if it tweeted who won several minutes in advance, THAT would be a spoiler.) Not to mention, the upcoming presenter was already teased minutes before on TV, and in this case, Tina Fey had already been on the air for several minutes by the time it appeared in my tweet stream.

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