An increasing part of our activities is creating and running AwesomeWalls, which pull social media feeds onto big screens at events. What started as a fun way to search for cats on Instagram has, bizarrely, become the de facto way to get fans involved at events, and we're riding quite a wave of demand for social media screens at the moment.
Our latest AwesomeWall was at Wembley Stadium for the Froch v Groves 2 boxing match, and it's a great example of how this kind of social fan-interaction really enhanced the event. So what did we learn?
Setting it up
We rocked up to Wembley with our mobile AwesomeWall rig, and ran a feed of Instagram pictures tagged with with the hashtag #frochgroves2 alongside the side of the big screens. The crowd were piling in and the anticipation for the fight was immense, but we had to focus on moderating the Instagram feed for the screen in real-time.
At the start of the event, fans like to test the water with the screen by pulling silly faces. You can hear the crowd enjoying the stream, and you can imagine the kick people get out of seeing their face on the big screen. With every funny post we approved, more keep coming in - a fun positive feedback loop which was just as enjoyable for us as the audience taking part.
When the boxing starts, the dynamic changes. First, the posts become more specific and you get a real sense of the audience's perspective, with some really spectacular shots coming in. Second, you get unexpected submissions from people at home, with their pizza and beers and the TV on in the background. You'd never get that juxtaposition without a live social media feed on a screen.
Social Media + Events = Win
Our favourite bit was during the fight. Not to state the obvious, but it really brought a sense of 'realtime' and interactivity to the whole event. Like when Froch flattened Groves, and the stream was scrolling with pictures of Groves flat on his back while Froch was bouncing around the ring to celebrate. Brilliant. The same contrast happened when Groves was giving his post-fight interview, lamenting his loss while Froch was on our feed bearing his winning belt.
That's what AwesomeWall is all about: bringing a new dimension to these events. You've got the venue, the stars and the audience - and now there's AwesomeWall, which brought an extra layer of enjoyment to what was already an incredible event. You can even feed in the reactions from people outside of the event itself.
Next stop: Glastonbury. Bring it on!