Thursday, March 4, 2010

American Idol Strips Contestants of Social Media Accounts

Look out: IdolNerd may ruin American Idol!

This year American Idol made headlines for pushing out individual Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace accounts for each of its 24 finalists. However, the show made a drastic change in strategy last night by consolidating all of them under the AI9Contestants username across sites.

Twitter followers of each of the individual contestants were sent the following message, "Thanks so much for following me! All my updates from now on will be on our Official Ai9 Twitter Page, please follow me there @AI9Contestants." Similar messages were posted to Facebook and MySpace as well.

The contestants individual social media identities were stripped by the show without rhyme or reason, but The Wall Street Journal and USA Today speculate that the move was likely made because of the propensity of social media site follower counts to reveal early favorites, influence voting, and possibly remove the veil of the mystery that clouds American Idol's typically stealth results.

The logic is sound a contestant with more Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and MySpace friends is likely to get more votes and thus would have a higher chance of winning the competition. But in making the decision, American Idol has also made it impossible for contestants to develop that now all-important connection with their fan base, which is becoming crucial to the business side of the industry.

We should also note that while Idol's consolidation efforts may be designed to maintain the mystery of the show's outcome, there's no stopping the rest us from turning to social media analytics providers to try and predict the winners and losers based on overall buzz and sentiment breakdown. In fact, we know that Philip Kaplan of Blippy has plans to do just that, indicating that he may try to ruin American Idol with a custom program that will look at who people say they're voting for in social media channels.

Tags: american idol, social media, tv

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  1. Semir Ibrahim3:56 PM

    If you have a lot of fans it does not necessarily mean all of then are going to vote for you.Just look at last season,obviously Adam Lambert had more fans than Kris Allen,and look who won.

  2. Anonymous1:20 PM

    Yes i believe that facebook, tweeter and myspace can influence the outcome of the results as to who will win, just take facebook for example, i could tell all my friends and the friends of all their friends to not vote for someone that i don't like and get a chain started. This should be fair game, the best man or woman should win based on their vocals and performance. Nicola