Oscars up social engagement through Twitter, iPhone app

LOS ANGELES: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is increasing its social media engagement with fans leading up to this year's Oscars, held on March 7.

LOS ANGELES: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is increasing its social media engagement with fans leading up to this year's Oscars, held on March 7. The organization, which launched YouTube and Facebook pages in recent years, added more live-streaming and will incorporate Twitter to its Web site this year.

"Even though last year we started using Facebook, I think to a certain degree, we were more in a mode of putting things out there and perhaps not engaging as much as we could have," said Leslie Unger, director of communications for AMPAS. This year, the organization is "trying to engage different people, through both traditional means and the opportunities that social media provide us with."

Working with its internal communications and marketing staff, the AMPAS handles all media relations, credentialing, and social media elements of this year's Oscars, and the organization year-round.

AMPAS live-streamed its nominees announcement on February 2, and the nominees luncheon on February 15, and is hosting several contests, including one for fashion design and one for MTVu correspondents, where the public can vote for the winners online. The Oscars also introduced an iPhone app this year, which plays movie trailers and will provide real-time Oscar night results.

The Oscars.com site, the site for the awards ceremony, is also planning on linking to several Twitter accounts, including the account for telecast producer Adam Shankman, who has more than 53,000 followers.

"[Shankman] is incredibly active on Twitter and we felt like that was natural to incorporate him into the Web site," said Unger, adding that they plan to ask a few more social media and entertainment influencers to add their accounts as well. For the organization overall, AMPAS is still determining how to best work with the micro-blogging site.

"A lot of the elements on Oscars.com are sharable, so people can participate and rank their top 10 [films] and share the list with their friends," Unger said. "We're trying to bump up the engagement level of the elements that are part of the site."

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