Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards represented a series of firsts for what is always a trendsetting awards show. One of the most impressive innovations was the coverage provided by Justine Ezarik — known to the Internet world as iJustine — who tracked the real-time trends happening on Twitter all night. The online community responded in an unprecedented way, turning out a grand total of 2 million VMA-related tweets while the show aired live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Like most everyone else paying attention to the VMAs, the folks on Twitter were most concerned about Kanye West and Taylor Swift. "Within the first 30 seconds after Kanye West grabbed the microphone away from Taylor Swift, there were over 5,000 tweets," iJustine said. "That's a huge number."
The number only kept growing. "By the halfway point in the show, there were over 50,000 tweets just about Kanye West," she said. "And just about all of them were negative." She added that the anti-Kanye sentiment manifested itself in overwhelming praise for Beyoncé at the end of the show, as well as the trending hash tag "#teamtaylor" that Swift's fans used to show their solidarity. Many of those tweets were even coming from inside Radio City Music Hall itself, as Hayley Williams, Perez Hilton, Katy Perry and a host of others all weighed in on the incident in real time.
But it wasn't just about Kanye and Taylor. The early peak came courtesy of Michael Jackson, as the tribute that opened the show caused another huge spike in Twitter traffic. Using the same unique tracking software she used during the preshow, she pointed out that Jackson, West, Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga all still have large "bubbles" on the visualizer, which means the Twitter world is still talking about last night's big event.
It's a response that blew away even an aficionado like iJustine. "That's a huge number for the Twitter universe," she said. "I'm still amazed that so many people decided to weigh in and join the conversation about the VMAs."
The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards might have wrapped, but the party is far from over. Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes updates, party reports and much more.