Olympics Twitter reaction to power London Eye lightshow

EDF Energy is powering an Olympic lightshow on the London Eye that responds to positive and negative tweets broadcast about the Games on Twitter.

Heralded as the “world’s first social media driven lightshow”, the display will take place every night from 21:00 BST and will reflect the mood of the social network's users towards the day’s action. If tweets are 75 per cent positive for example, three quarters of the famous wheel will be lit up, as the Union Jack’s colours beam over London as well as gold, silver and bronze lights depending on team GB’s medal intake that day.

EDF has worked with a group of graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop an intuitive ‘social sentiment’ tracking algorithm that linguistically analyses tweets and splits them into positive and negative categories. They are then filtered through a program which systematically converts them into a lightshow.

Twitter users can have their sway on the show by tweeting via the #Energy2012 hashtag. But if the tweeters share the dread of ITProPortal HQ and much of London over the city’s impending Olympic meltdown, the lightshow could be a rather dark affair. Let’s hope next week’s opening ceremony will quash the cynicism.

Justin Manor, founder of Sosolimited which is behind the technology for the project, explained, “The algorithm we developed converts real-time social emotions into colour and motion – tweets to light show. We distil 24 hours of action into a 24 minute visual concert that embodies the emotional peaks and troughs of the day. Being able to light up the EDF Energy London Eye every night is a one of a kind of experience both for us and anyone who wants to join in on Twitter.”

Legendary British Olympian Daley Thompson, who helped launch the project, said, “We need to get behind our favourites to power them onto gold. EDF Energy of the Nation gives you a really easy way to join in wherever you are and help drive a world first every night on the EDF Energy London Eye - a light show powered by the nation’s tweets… So come on, show your support for London 2012 and add your voice to the biggest conversation of the year.”

If you can’t make it down the capital during the Games, the show will be live-streamed every day at edfenergyofthenation.com for your viewing pleasure.

Until then, here's a video previewing the show with more insight from expert Manor.