MTV Builds Viral App for New Reality Show

While traditional media companies initially struggled with how best to utilize Facebook, their understanding of the Facebook ecosystem has improved in reaching their audiences during the past few months.

Most recently, the Viacom-owned MTV worked with Vitrue, a social media agency, to create a new Facebook app for College Life, the network’s new reality show. In the College Life show, MTV provides students with cameras so they can chronicle their day-to-day lives without the interference of producers or directors, who can cause “reality” shows to look staged.

The College Life Facebook App is essentially a personality quiz. After installing it on their Facebook pages, users answer 10 questions about their personality. Depending on their answers, the app will classify the users into one of five categories: Total Package, Art Freak, Loner, Party Animal, or Bookworm.

To boost the reach of the application, users may share quiz results with their Facebook friends. They may also post their quiz results to their profile. Any social action they take via the app will be published to the News Feed for their friends to see.


Although it remains to be seen whether or not this app will be successful in bolstering MTV’s marketing efforts for College Life, it’s encouraging to see traditional media companies take new approaches to promoting their products on Facebook. The early Facebook marketing efforts by media giants were dogged by apps and pages that lacked viral or social elements. By partnering with companies like Vitrue, whose business it is to understand the Facebook ecosystem, they might enjoy better success.

MTV has been the only one showing progressive approaches to utilizing the Facebook platform. Other examples include the following:

  1. Watercooler (AppData), one of the largest developers on the Platform, has been operating a network of hundreds of rich TV fan applications on Facebook since 2007.
  2. Slide (AppData) has also been distributing video clips for major media companies since last year.
  3. Back in January, during the inauguration of President Obama, the Time Warner-owned CNN posted two million status updates from Facebook to its site.
  4. In February, 10 entertainment sites (including CBS’s The Insider) partnered with Facebook so users could post status updates to participating sites about their thoughts on the Academy Awards as they unfolded.