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London Ferris Wheel will send out nonverbal messages from Twitter

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
The London Eye. It's watching your tweets. (US Presswire)

Wheel in the sky keeps on trending.

Twitter's never been more popular than it is now. It was a part of the experience while watching the 2008 Games only for the diehards who were ahead of the trend. It was certainly more involved in the as-you-see-it-unfold viewing during the 2010 Winter Olympiad in Vancouver.

But now, everything that happens and is considered even mildly viral or worthy of a trend will show up on Twitter. For better or worse, trend or trope, it is a gauge on everyday newsworthy conversation. It is the most predominant microblogging and macro-reaction vehicle out there, and not even Facebook is a close second. It's so influential, Twitter will be heavily involved with one of the actual landmarks in London.

The London Eye -- it is a Ferris Wheel, let the record show -- will reflect the mood of Twitter by selecting certain messages or tweets throughout the Games, most of them beamed out by the athletes, official accounts or media reporting on the contests. Sort of like a Bat Signal for the ones too lazy to check their own smartphones.

Look, Nigel. Tonight the Eye says Michael Phelps was acting douchey.

Actually, it won't be that transparent. What the Eye will do is change color depending on how people are reacting to the Olympics. Yellow = happy. Purple = pissed. Green = ambivalent. Lights off = Bob Costas is talking, and he has demanded everyone needs to pipe down and listen to his acute editorial.

More from the Wall Street Journal:

Twitter has prepared for the Games for months. ... Twitter will embed its own staffer with NBC's social media team in London to ensure fresh news, interviews and links to TV highlights will show up on Twitter. The Olympics "hashtag"—a way for Twitter to organize tweets about a single topic—will pop up on screen during television coverage, NBC said. Twitter will be visible offline as well, not just on TV or online. The London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel dominating the skyline, will light up each night based on the sentiment of Olympic tweets, although Twitter said that isn't part of its campaign. Some research shows social media is fueling viewership of live TV, as people want to interact over Kobe Bryant's dunk or Angelina Jolie's Oscar dress. Social-media analysis firm Trendrr said Twitter accounted for an average of three quarters of the "social activity" around broadcast TV programs in the first quarter of this year, vs. 16% for Facebook.

It's more ambiance for the Games, for certain. I don't know how much it adds, really, but it'll be interesting for those attending to steal a glance at the massive ring and see how people feel about each day's worth of activity. It's our next step in communicating virally through the Internet, which we're always of course taking extremely seriously.

You can see the wheel change colors and send its hues to the heavens here, once the Games begin here.

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