You can watch the Super Bowl for free on TV, but compared to attending the game, it’s a second rate experience. You won’t get the emotional rush of being part of the crowd and the action, no matter how loud the play-by-play guy yells.
That’s why those who can afford it shell out thousands of dollars on tickets, transportation, food and lodging to actually go to the game. There’s nothing like being there; the emotional rush of the crowd when a big play takes place, the buzz and excitement at being part of a major media event, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat — it’s an experience you can only get in real-time and in real-life.
Israeli start-up Moment.me can’t bring everybody to the game in order to experience it, but it hopes to do the next best thing — bring the game, with all its emotions, thrill, and sense of community, to those unable to be there. By leveraging social media, Moment.me brings events to those using its app or viewing its site, providing them with a stream of photos, Twitter tweets, Facebook postings, and videos flowing from events in real-time, said Ronny Elkayam, Moment.me CEO.
“It’s like a crowdsourced collaborative album. We aggregate experiential content in real time, using smart algorithms to ensure that the content is secure, safe, and manageable.” The postings on social media express the feelings and emotions associated with being at the game, in a far better way than TV can communicate, said Elkayam.
The app, using location data, parses the social media accounts of users at an event (Moment Makers, in the app’s lingo), uploading the relevant content to a web site dedicated to the event, called a Group Moment. Other people in their social media community, such as Facebook friends, can follow along, viewing the content as soon as it gets uploaded.
If more than one Moment.me user is attending the event, others viewing the Group Moment can see the photos, videos and postings from the point of view of anyone who has uploaded content, or from all points of view together. Viewers and owners of the content can comment, communicate with each other, etc.
In order not to overload users, said Elkayam, the system uses smart algorithms to decide which points of view have priority, based on user characteristics and history.
Moment Makers create their own Group Moments, but when it comes to mass events — like the Super Bowl — Elkayam and his partners, Boaz Adato and Eilon Tirosh, along with their team, take care of business themselves. “There is plenty of unrestricted content at events like the Super Bowl, so we parse the social networks looking for the relevant items and add them to a Mass Open Moment, which anybody, with or without the app installed, can follow along with,” said Elkayam.
Moment.me also provides an API which allows other web sites to embed a Mass Moment on their sites. A good recent example of that was a Mass Moment created last December 31 by Moment.me for the Buzzfeed web site, all about New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world. “The experiential data is out there, but its diffused,” said Elkayam. “We aggregate it, putting it together to present a picture of what is going on, in real time, from the points of view of those at the event. It really is the next best thing to being there.”
This year’s will be the second Super Bowl Moment.me turns into a Mass Moment. Besides Super Bowls, the site, which has been active since November 2012, has done some other big events, such as the inauguration of President Obama for his second term last January, NFL and NBA games, the 2013 American Music Awards, and scenes from the recent mass memorial in South Africa for Nelson Mandela. “It’s also been used for important news events, including recent rioting in Egypt and Turkey,” said Elkayam.
“Journalists, spectators at an event, or anyone who is present where there is some interesting action can really get emotionally involved in what is going on, with all its thrills and chills, but it’s hard for them to ‘export’ that feeling to many people. That’s where we come in, enabling anyone at an event to be part of a community, and using crowdsourced content to extend that community and that emotional involvement to anyone anywhere,” said Elkayam.