Actress acts as event's social media host

“Hell no.” That was Angie Harmon’s response when asked to be the first-ever Social Media Host for the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards this year. Harmon considered Twitter a breeding ground for the self-involved. Now, she’s the definition of a convert.

“Twitter is the happiest place on earth,” Harmon says. “Everyone is supportive of each other; it’s not as ego-based as I thought it was. It’s been a complete eye-opener.”

Harmon’s role is to provide insider access to the awards experience via her Tweets, part of an initiative by Turner, which will air the Jan. 30 awards on TNT and TBS, to gain younger audiences and increase consumer interaction. “We’re seeing audiences engage more not just with watching the show but being online, on Facebook and Tweeting,” says Tricia Melton, senior VP of entertainment marketing for TBS, TNT and TCM. “It’s becoming much more of an experience.”

Harmon learned to tweet Dec. 15, the night before she announced the nominees. On Dec. 16 she became angie_harmon, and now has more than 25,000 followers, and has since been doing a countdown to the SAG awards. “I thought I’d get like 200, and I had 2,000 in the first two hours,” says the leading lady best known for her role on “Law & Order.” “I thought, ‘They probably think it’s someone else.’?”

Through working with Harmon on TNT’s hit “Rizzoli & Isles,” Melton knew the actress would bring both energy and experience to the job (Harmon is a four-time SAG nominee). Harmon is following through on the insider access requirement; she’s Tweeted pictures of her dress fittings for the awards, and on show day, CNN.com will feature footage of her getting ready thanks to a flip cam.

“Once I get out there, I’m taking a picture of the wall of photographers,” Harmon says. “That’s the stuff that people who aren’t in the industry don’t get to see.”

Also from the red carpet will be a digital show, part of Turner’s partnership with People Magazine for the awards. The show will stream on TNT, TBS and People’s websites, the SAG Awards Facebook page and on CNN’s Times Square billboard.

Despite her newfound Twitter worship, Harmon still runs into the occasional technological difficulty: “Well, I did have to ask the entire Twitter community how to change my picture,” she says.

More from the SAG Awards:
Scene stealers among stars | SAG honors Ernest Borgnine | SAG merger with AFTRA a priority | Harmon to Tweet from SAG kudofest

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