Jarter Jargon

My Trip to the Grammys

Posted on: February 14, 2013

It all started about a month ago with a phone call from a friend: “Have you ever been to California? Do you like to watch the Grammys? Do you want to go to the Grammys?” I can’t believe I get to say this, but actually being at the Grammys was awesome.

It’s not every day you get to attend one of music’s biggest events. When I first found out I was going, I instantly started counting down the days. Needless to say, being a social media buff, I planned on documenting the entire trip. My Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook were set and ready to go. I even posted a couple Vines over the weekend. I woke up Sunday with the biggest smile on my face. I knew it would be a long night with a red eye flight back to Milwaukee after the show, but it was well worth it.

While the red carpet wasn’t open to anyone without a press pass, there was plenty to be seen inside the Staples Center. Looking at everyone I walked by, all I could think was, “They have to be famous somehow.” My phone was charged and ready to capture anything and everything, but while going through security, the usher said something devastating: “Please do not use your phone inside.” Wait, what? I had spent all this time researching the official hashtag, creating lists of people to keep an eye on during the show, and planning my whole social media approach for the night only to be told, “No phones?”

We made our way to our seats and met the people sitting around us. Not surprising, looking down into the sea of people who “have to be famous somehow,” all I saw were cell phones lit up. That’s when the executive producer of the whole thing stepped out on stage and gave us the pre-show rundown. We were told it was to be music’s biggest night yet, and we were reminded to use social media as much as possible.

After commercial breaks, LL Cool J reminded everyone to follow the Grammys Twitter account, use the official #GRAMMYs hashtag, and to keep the tweets coming. He also read tweets from fans watching at home. Although, I did think he went a little overboard. At one point he suggested viewers tweet with the #GRAMMYs hashtag and to “stay tuned for performances from #Rihanna, #BrunoMars, #CarrieUnderwood” among others.

While their promotion of social media use was a great way to engage viewers and foster conversation, it was a bit obnoxious. Even more interesting was the Grammy’s choice of social media platform. Facebook wasn’t mentioned once. Instagram had a few plugs, but Twitter reined supreme. The Grammys also taught us a few lessons about social media’s role in big events.

First, they told the audience where they could find the Grammys on social media, and they also told us what we would get for following them. From behind-the-scenes photos to exclusive content, it was worth following their accounts. More importantly, they let the audience know they were listening. Letting it be known that there’s someone reading tweets is a great way to trigger more tweets. They were also very active during the event, asking for viewer input and fostering discussions. However despite the amazing number of online discussions, the on-air impact of social media turned out to be little more than LL Cool J imploring fan participation.

It was over before I knew it, but I did gain some new Twitter and Instagram followers. I was also part of a huge discussion. The Grammys produced 8–13 million tweets, and performances garnered over 100,000 tweets per minute. All in all, the Grammys did a great job of incorporating social media into the night, and they did what any social campaign should do: keep the audience engaged, create a discussion, and facilitate the use of their monitored social channels. Now that my star-studded weekend is over, I guess I should apologize to my followers for blowing up their feeds!



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