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Live Polling on Twitter to Have an Oscar Moment

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Feb 28, 2014 — Katherine Rosman

Jumping in to the popular realm of online surveys and quizzes, Twitter and the E! Entertainment Network is offering a new way to weigh in on the wardrobe choices of Hollywood starlets who walk the red carpet before this Sunday’s Oscar telecast.

With back-end technology provided by Poptip–a company founded by Kelsey Falter, a 24-year-old woman who is also building survey products for the NFL and ESPN–followers of E! Online’s Twitter feeds (@eonline and @redcarpet) can vote in real-time on who is having an award-worthy fashion-moment.

The Poptip technology will allow people to vote on whose dresses they like, and see in real-time the results of the polling without ever leaving Twitter — a value proposition for the social network.

Here’s how it works: During the red carpet show, E! will tweet in real-time a photo of, say, Cate Blanchett wearing a gown by Christian Dior. Inside the tweet, you can click a box that says “Love it” or one that reads “Leave it.”

“Red carpet is one of our key seasons of the years, and we look for new ways to enhance the viewing experience,” says Romina Rosado, vice president and editor in chief of E! Online. According to comScore, E! ranks as the top generator of monthly unique visitors via mobile devices in the entertainment news category.

Oscar awards season is an exceptionally busy time of year for Hollywood starlets, publicists, fashion stylists … and the folks who work in the TV department at Twitter. Providing a second-screen experience that helps boost ratings for important live-TV tent-pole events is an increasingly important mandate for the social network, which promotes its value to stockholders and media executives as a ratings fertilizer. Similar Twitter live-polls are expected for future live-TV events.

About a year ago, Fred Graver, head of TV at the social network, and his team introduced the Twitter Mirror, a “selfie” machine that lets celebrities take their photo backstage and send it through Twitter’s feed, while giving TV viewers a glimpse of who soon will be appearing on the telecast soon.

Last year’s Oscars generated 8.9 million tweets, the company says: 2.1 million during the red carpet pageant and another 6.8 during the awards show. When “Argo” was announced as the winner of the Best Picture award, the network registered more than 85,000 tweets-per-minute. By comparison, when Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a prince amid a media frenzy, Twitter counted 25,300 tweets per minute.

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