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HBO's social TV visualizations dazzle with 'Connect'

HBO.com has launched a beta social TV experience called “Connect” that features some of the most beautiful social media visualizations on the web. The home page (below) displays a real-time visualization of conversations around HBO shows, measured by Bit.ly clicks and mapped to locations. Click a show and you can connect with its various social accounts.

HBO Connect built custom visualizations for two shows, True Blood and Game of Thrones.

True Blood premieres later this month, so the page (above) artfully displays tweets with the hashtags #tbwithdrawal and #waitingsucks as a “place for fans to feed their addiction” as they wait. Perhaps not the most useful page, but certainly pretty.

The Game of Thrones visualization pulls out trending topics around the show. Click a topic and corresponding tweets are highlighted on the right, pinpointed by the authors’ profile pics.

The “feeds” section of HBO Connect features a dynamic stream of Twitter conversations around both shows. You can connect your Twitter account to participate, and you can check in via GetGlue, as well. A list of trending topics allows you to filter the stream by topic.

Over on “conversations,” HBO teases upcoming live Twitter chats. Explains HBO, “A true second-screen experience, Live Twitter Commentaries will be timed with replays of popular HBO programming where an actor, writer or director will provide exclusive insight into the making of the show during broadcasts.” For example, Wendell Pierce (“Antoine Batiste” from Treme) will be chatting later this summer.

HBO Connect is the most visually striking social TV experience we’ve seen, and it’s likely a Webby Award contender (HBO has won several in the past.) Functionally, it’s a great start, and we’d love to see more shows, Facebook friends recommendations and an iPad version, as well. In fact, it would be great to see HBO.com become a version of HBO Connect. In reality, most TV sites in the near future will be re-imagined as social TV experiences. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

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