On Sunday, MTV hosted its annual Video Music Awards show, which is weird when you consider just how far removed MTV is from the music scene. Nevertheless, it's something of a tradition, considering MTV has been doing the VMAs since 1984, a time when they really were "Music Television."
Now? Not so much, but that doesn't mean people still watch the award show when it airs.
Nevertheless, by most reports, the 2011 VMAs were a hit, as over 12 million people tuned in. They also tweeted about it--en masse, apparently--but the Twitter count hit another all-time high in regards to tweets per second when Beyonce's pregnancy was announced, which takes place in the video leading this post. For those that haven't seen it, the announcement comes after her performance.
According to various reports, Beyonce's "I'm with child" announcement broke the TPS (tweet per second) record, one that was set during the Women's World Cup Final. The title for TPS has switched hands a few times, but now, thanks to Beyonce's announcement, MTV is, vicariously, the proud owner of the new TPS title.
#VMA moment gave Twitter a record bump: 8,868 Tweets per second.Last night at 10:35pm ET, Beyonce's big MTV
So yeah, more people tweeted about Beyonce's pregnancy than any other event since the inception of Twitter. For some reason, when I think about the societal impact of such knowledge, I keep going back to this song by Trent Reznor. It's fairly NSFW, but it definitely captures the tone of what motivates such reaction quite well.
Digression aside, did Beyonce's announcement improve the ratings for the VMAs? If you listen to Twitter, perhaps, but then, there's another perspective that blows the idea out of the water.
In a post over at Forbes, Brandon Mendelson scoffs at the idea that all these Beyonce tweets did much to impact MTV's rating count for the VMAs, regardless of the propaganda offered to support such a claim:
Is it possible that Twitter could lead to an increase in the ratings of a television show? Absolutely; however, since the service rolled out in 2006 this has yet to be the case...
But when you consider Twitter is only used by 13% of Americans (according to PEW), and that of those 13%, less than a quarter of them are responsible for the majority of tweets sent, the truth disproves the fiction. Not to mention, given the number of people like me who use the service to write jokes, how many of them do you think are watching the thing they’re mocking?
It's a compelling argument, especially the 13 percent aspect, but when you see headlines that say stuff like "This year’s VMA ratings reach record-breaking levels," then maybe social media as a whole should be given credit.
Granted, that 13 percent sticks out like a sore thumb, but it's highly doubtful Twitter was the only social media platform where the VMAs were being discussed. Facebook, I'm sure, was also a conduit for the discussion, which could very easily contribute to the ratings increase as well. Of course, then there's the idea that nothing was on that Sunday, except for new HBO Originals episodes--True Blood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage--and Breaking Bad.
When you consider the average age of the pop music sycophant who uses Twitter--no data here, but just from a quick glance at the various pop music trends that show up daily on Twitter--they probably weren't allowed to watch those mature shows, and so, they resorted to living vicariously through Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Whatever the case, Beyonce's pregnancy announcement now holds the tweets-per-second record, and that's kind of sad.