The new "Moonman" award statue for the the MTV VMAs, whose nominees will be announced via Vine and Instagram (Source: Anthony Quintanos, under a CC BY 2.0 license)
MTV has long fallen on the way side in terms of videos, especially those of the music kind. For a channel whose abbreviation once meant Music Television, actually seeing a music video on the channel is the workings of myth and rumor in the present tense. MTV's main appeal now is partially-scripted "reality" shows which attract young teens and early twentysomethings in suburban America that aren't particularly keen on the urbane thinking of some of their Millennial brethren (though the channel does occasionally throw a half-chewed bone to the hipster crowd as well).
Still, MTV likes to remind people that it really does care about the music, in its annual Video Music Awards show at the end of August. The spectacle often awards artists not for their song talents, but for the artwork they put together for their music videos. More often than not, the VMAs include pleas for the channel to actually, you know, show music videos, or throwbacks to the era when the medium was dominant on the channel. This being MTV, the pleas fall on deaf ears, and another variant of Teen Moms and Jersey Shore gets put on air.
To get hip with the social media crowd, however, MTV has taken back the video medium, albeit in a way that has nothing to do with music videos. The channel will announce the nominees of the VMAs tomorrow at 8 A.M. EDT/5 A.M. PDT through their Instagram page, as well as their Twitter feed. Especially in the case of Twitter, MTV will make use of the newfangled Vine video service, which has been the source of short clips that mesh well with Twitter's microblogging ouerve. The Vine videos will be the primary source of nominee information.
In the spirit of being clever and creative, MTV hired stop-motion animator Khoa Phan, known for his own Vine videos, to provide the Vine footage for the VMAs' nominees. Phan has previously worked with MTV on other stop-motion projects, including some PSAs on sex education. Their social media collaboration efforts reflect a growing trend on the channel's part to make itself relevant in the YouTube and post-reality era. MTV's work on Instagram has been useful: Their recent stunt of the ubiquitous VMA "Moonman" travelling from the show's old venue of the Staples Center in Los Angeles to the Barclays Center in New York City, itself a reflection of the geographic shift in youth culture, gathered impressions on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook numbering in the millions. Through the use of Vine, MTV intends to expand that scope so as to stay a somehow-important part of youth culture.
They still aren't showing music videos, though.