Warning: include_once(/home1/keepupw1/public_html/tawnysasha/wp-content/plugins/wp-super-cache/wp-cache-phase1.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/photoent/public_html/keepupwiththeweb.com/wp-content/advanced-cache.php on line 14

Warning: include_once(): Failed opening '/home1/keepupw1/public_html/tawnysasha/wp-content/plugins/wp-super-cache/wp-cache-phase1.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php56/pear') in /home/photoent/public_html/keepupwiththeweb.com/wp-content/advanced-cache.php on line 14
Can Bloggers Learn a Lesson From Watching American Idol? – Keep Up With The Web – Sherryl Perry

Can Bloggers Learn a Lesson From Watching American Idol?

Share Button

Is American Idol really a talent search or has it turned into a popularity contest? At the end, when the season 10 winner is announced will the most talented and promising singer of the season emerge or will we be left with the most popular singer standing? Last night, as I was watching to see who emerged as the final two, Ryan Seacrest announced “Over 95 million votes”, “Biggest non-finale number in our history”, “15 Million more than last year’s final show”. Were those really impressive numbers or reality TV spin? What is actually being measured here? What are the odds that this year’s American Idol winner will actually go on to achieve mega-star status?

As I watched this show, it made me think of blogging. Which bloggers are achieving mega-star status? How do we measure success? Are you more apt to follow someone back on Twitter if they have more followers than the number of people they’re following? Do you think if someone has hundreds of thousands of followers that they’re worthy of you following them too? Which numbers really matter? Is blogging becoming a popularity contest?

What Are We Measuring?

In the case of American Idol, where you can vote as often as you want during the voting period, are we measuring eagerness, fan loyalty, perseverance? Is it the goal of the show producers to find a recording artist or to generate buzz and popularity for the show itself? In the case of blogging are we measuring the number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with sales, clients and conversions? Do you use Google Analytics to track what readers are doing on your blog?

What Is the Influence of the Judges?

If you followed American Idol this season, you probably are aware that Pia Toscano (arguably one of the most talented contestants this season and long considered a front-runner) was voted off early. Pia was the fifth girl in a row to be voted off prompting Jennifer Lopez to urge America to “vote for the girls!” (After this plea, no other girl had been voted off until last night.) Are likes and RTs, diggs and stumbles votes for our posts? Do you participate in social networking sites like BizSugar, BlogEngage, BlogInteract and Blokube that have vote buttons? Are you driving traffic through these sites?

Are You Relatable?

Did the fact that James Durbin has a girlfriend and a son hurt his chances of winning by costing him votes with the young girls? Will Scotty McCreery win the entire competition partly due to his strong appeal to the ladies? (Unlike James, he makes it clear that he is single and appears to be singing directly to the women in the audience.) Who do you like and follow? Where do you go for information? I know I have favorite bloggers. With so many choices, how do you differentiate yourself so that people will “vote” for you?

What are your thoughts? Do you see the parallels between American Idol and blogging? (Maybe my next post should be about how Boston Rob won Survivor. 🙂 )

Share Button

Published by Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

Join the Conversation

74 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. After the elimination of James Durbin i stop watching American Idol because he got the best skills and judges neglect them.
    anyhow its a good entertaining show to entertain different minded people.

    1. I was a fan of James Durbin too. It’s been years since someone I’ve supported has won that contest. Every year, I say I’m not watching that show any more. I really wish they would limit the number of votes everyone has but we both know that’s not going to happen.

  2. Pingback: Can Klout Measure our Influence on Social Media Networks
  3. I agree with you. A lot of talented American Idol contestant go home early because they don’t project the star quality that the audience is looking for. That’s a lot like blogging. If your content is good yet your site is riddled with ads and popups, that’s not the professional image most website visitors are looking for.

  4. Hi, I did drop by your blog and I did leave a reply to you on one of the other comments that you left suggesting that you grab a Gravatar (globally recognized avatar). I hope to see your profile pic so we all can get to know you better.

  5. I have to admit, I always thought that tv shows like American Idol and The X Factor were full of rubbish and I never wanted to watch them or take any interest in them at all. But you’ve shown me that actually, they can be useful, human behavious is a strange phenomenon isn’t it!

  6. Hi Sherryl,
    Nice post.You have made the analogy really well.I guess all the different aspects of life are interrelated with each other and there is no hard and fast rule on which one to implement in a given scenario.

    1. Hi Shivam, Glad you like my post. It was actually fun to write about something lighthearted. I think there are many aspects of life that are interrelated. I actually was toying with the idea of writing my next post drawing the similarities between business and the masked suitor on The Bachelorette but I was unsure how many readers would know who I was talking about.

  7. As far as American Idol is concerned, I feel, a lot of the times, that the call-in or text-in vote, week in and week out, comes down to who is the most charismatic, is the most charming, or has the best smile. That’s why the collective opinion of teenage girls drive the show, and the male singers – even when they’re not super-talented (whatever happened to that Sanjaya kid, anyway?) – seem to stick around longer than their female counterparts.

    So, what I take from AI is that the race (i.e., ultimate success) doesn’t necessarily go to the swiftest, the strongest, and/or the wisest. It goes to whomever comes across, to those watching, as the swiftest, the strongest, and/or the wisest.

    1. Thanks for bringing up Sanjaya. 🙂 I almost worked him into this article. Remember, there was an organized effort to keep him in? I think in the campaign, they identified him as being the least talented singer left. I absolutely agree that it comes down to popularity but I think the popularity in the case of AI comes down to being popular with viewers who have the time, energy and desire to exhaust their votes. Personally, I wish it was one vote per person per method of voting. Maybe a female would have a chance of winning then.

  8. There is another way of “ranking” or voting for the blog that Google has intoduced recently – +1. It will be the way for readers to interact with blog/site owners.

    1. Jack, That’s a great point! Google +1 is another way bloggers can engage readers. There are so many of those sites now and I actually participate in quite a few of them. I really need to add vote buttons here!

  9. I’ve watched Australian Idol the first season and that was enough for me, I’m afraid it just didn’t hold my interest. I don’t know why but I much prefer Australia’s Got Talent.

    One thing that those who make it on these shows have over everyone else is exposure. They get to show everyone what they’ve got and if it’s good enough something may come of it.

    Bloggers don’t have that advantage. It’s not good enough that they come up with great content, if they don’t market it using SEO, social media and such then they simply won’t get noticed. Just like all that great talent that never make it on those shows.

    1. I love America’s Got Talent. (I confess I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie.) 🙂

      You make an excellent point about bloggers needing to mix in SEO. To me, having good content is similar to having talent. Using social media is a must too. As far as I know, to be successful on reality TV, you need to participate on social networking sites too. I believe most of the contestants are on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I’d be surprised if they weren’t.

  10. Hi Sherryl,

    What a wonderful way to teach us a lesson on blogging by using an example from the most popular tv show. I stopped watching American Idol awhile ago, so that thought me to keep my readers off balance by creating new content, design and site updates

    1. Hi Andrew,
      I’m genuinely surprised on how many people have left comments here and have shared that they don’t watch the show. It just goes to show how well branded that show is. Like it or not, almost everyone is aware of it.

      It will be interesting to see how popular this post becomes! 🙂

  11. Nice post Shayyrl. While comparing blogging with American Idol it can be easily said that in blogging the most experienced blogger is the judge whereas novice bloggers are contestants. It is the duty of an experienced blogger to create such a wonderful blog that a novice blogger coming to the blog must learn something and improve the blogging skill from novice level to professional level. And Shayyrl your analogy is really great and this let an experienced blogger the judge of blogging.

    1. Thanks John. That makes sense. There are some extremely popular bloggers who I follow (because I learn from them not because they are popular) who have turned around an followed me. They have judged my site, found value in my content and now tweet some of my posts. This has been a huge help to me by building awareness of my blog amongst their followers. I’m glad you dropped by!

      1. Thanks for replying Sherryl. The best blogger always gives quick response of comments and that’s what you really do well . All commenter s just need good response from blog owners and that’s improves the popularity of blog.Thanks again.
        Regards.

  12. Love this Sherryl. Now I don’t watch American Idol (I know, I am probably the only one in the US who doesn’t) but I DO watch and really love Dancing with the Stars. I think the shows have a similar model. There are times when the most amazing dancers are eliminated early on in the season leaving behind many far less talented than they are. Why? Because it has become a popularity contest with the viewers having a huge say in who gets booted and who stays. The judges are professionals in the dancing industry and are far better at deciding who is actually the better/best dancer, but opening the voting up to the viewers has most definitely turned it into a popularity contest. I agree with you – it doesn’t matter how popular one is on any social site, nor does it matter how many Twitter followers one has, if they aren’t getting paid – who cares? I would rather have 10 Twitter follows who pay me monthly than 10,000 who pay me nothing! I have always said that some people are getting carried away with the numbers game and forgetting that the bottom line is how many customers/clients they convert. Now there are times when traffic to your blog DOES matter, like when you want to charge for ad placement – but that is a whole other topic 🙂

    1. Julie, I swear I thought I replied to your comment already. (I think I may be slowly losing my mind here. LOL)

      That is such a great observation on needing traffic if you’re interested in charging for ad placement! Thanks for adding that point to the discussion.

  13. That’s actually an interesting point that most people don’t seem to get. A lot of people look at American Idol winners as “top singers” but ignore the fact that those so called singers more than often don’t get any future career in the music business after American Idol (at the very least I can only think of a handful). It’s effectively a popularity contest.

    Onto blogging, actually I think bloggers could learn a lot from American Idol. If you look at the people who are winning, it’s often not so much their voice (though that is important) it’s their body language. The ones that make it to the top of the competition are making eye contact with everyone, watching the cameras, smiling when appropriate, showing other emotion when appropriate. The singer is “connecting” with the audience without the audience actually realizing it. If you put enough variety into your body movements then you’ll eventually strike a nerve on everyone, and once you have them you have them.

    It’s the exact same thing for blogging, the way you type up the post, how often you respond, whether you show a sense of humor or not, whether your post is connecting content or just plain text, all of it is important. The more you include your readers into your work and the more you reply and show them importance the more they feel connected to your blog. Once they feel connected then they come back, and you have an audience for your “show”.

    1. Michael,
      Wow! Connecting with your audience is an excellent example of a lesson we can learn from watchingAmerican Idol. I wish I had included this component in my original post. Thanks so much for adding this!

      1. You wish you had included it? I wish I had said it … so astute! Isn’t it great to have so many perspectives? Well said, Michael!

        Sherryl, you pick great topics, great questions. Always learning at your institute.

        1. Thanks Vernessa. I agree. Michael really wrote a well thought comment that definitely added to my article. I just love comments!

          BTW – I really enjoyed your guest post on GrowMap – “Your Newsletter Tastes Like Spam”. Good job!

  14. John, I think this is why bloggers make it so easy for their readers to “like” and “follow” them. There is definitely a community of bloggers online who share common interests and genuinely want to help each other grow their businesses regardless of their individual niche. DiTesco (he left a comment 2 above you) is one of these individuals who I have connected with online. As Stephen pointed out in his comment, there are marketing companies and ad agencies behind American Idol. I think that being part of an online community is a key part of being successful/popular as a blogger.

    1. I see. Is this what they call a *Tribe*? where they Like/Follow/Comments on each others blogs and at the same time driving traffic to each others blog sites?

      1. The community building that I’m talking about John is the same that you find in “real life” – in Chambers of Commerce, networking events and other situations. It’s about establishing meaningful relationships with other bloggers who you respect and can learn from. I “follow” people like DiTesco because I find lots of the info that he shares is interesting and can be valuable to either me and/or possibly people who follow me. (So, I share it.)

        Tribes are communities too but (from what I know of them) there’s usually a commitment to do something whereas a community in general is all about building relationships with people you respect. (You can certainly like them too.) I believe that my blog readers are forming a community of sorts too. Lots of us follow CommentLuv links and check out each others’ blogs.

        1. Thanks for letting me know about all that stuff Sherryl. So I guest it’s just PURE interest without any commitment, that’s a good thing!

  15. Popularity is a big factor, yes! But the difference if we compare AI to Blogging is that when we people watch AI they are interested and it’s very easy for them to Like or Follow they see on TV because we also easily get attached with the show or the contestants. Unlike blogging, when we see or know someone popular who got a blog. It is our instinct to know what are his/her niche? do we have the same interest to follow/join him/her? Stuffs like that would come into our mind..

  16. Well from a marketing perspective the success of the show is in its ability to entice people into captivating them in the moment. Year in year out you get countless reality TV shows, contestant programmes and various other media shows, it takes dramatization to its very extreme levels. From a basic point of view its just a simple talent competition, meant to be a bit of light fun. However, marketing companies and ad agencies hype up the show to make it into its own little world where week in week out everything is held on a knifes edge and that it drives itself to promote the concept that each viewer has an element of control by voting week in week out. What makes these shows a learning experience is their ability to take a person, create a brand and a following out of them in no time at all and then dump them or propel them based on the success or failure of their performance on the show.

    1. Excellent observations Stephen. American Idol certainly is a brand. I actually voted last night for Lauren Alaina. (I rarely vote on reality TV contests but I think she’d be a great role model for young girls.) I did feel that I had a voice (an element of control) by voting – right up until I discovered that I had 50 votes! (How else could they be achieving “over 95 million votes” with 3 contestants left?) After reading through the comments here, I’m realizing that there are more lessons to be learned here than I first realized.

  17. Hi Sherryl. In my side of the world (Brazil), American Idol is actually watched, not by many, but a few. As for me, I saw the show one time and I found it to be interesting but not enough to provide me with the need to “must watch it”, kind of thing.. In my opinion, American Idol is probably a mix of both talent and popularity contest.

    As with blogging, having talent, would be some who can write and provide consistent quality content for example. However, this might not “translate” to anything unless the blogger gets to be somewhat popular, right? By popular I mean someone who is known in the community, who participates, interacts, reciprocates, and all those things. The problem is that sometimes we forget our real objectives and think that being popular will eventually bring in the business. True, but not entirely.

    1. That is so true Francisco. I agree. Successful bloggers build their popularity/awareness by developing online relationships. It’s exactly as you say, it’s being part of the community by participating, interacting and reciprocating. Popularity does build awareness but bottom line, people still like to do business with people that they like.

  18. Hi, Sherryl.

    I really loved American Idol until they eliminated James Durbin. I am a sucker for contestants with stories and I liked the fact that James overcame his challenges to become the great singer that he is now. Oh well, at least Scotty is still in the competition. But, James would have been the one for me and my 7-year old son. 🙂

    As to learning from AI as a blogger, I believe that it is okay to go for those who are popular as long as they offer invaluable resources. The mere number of Twitter followers or Facebook friends or fans does not necessarily mean quality content on blogs. So, if asked if I will follow a popular blogger but blah content versus a not-so popular blogger with rocking content, I will go for the latter. 🙂

    I am just lucky to have found rocking people like you, Danny, Bill, Brankica, Dino and Patricia, among many others who are not only popular but also offer the best blog posts online though, so I won’t have to settle for better, only the best. 🙂

    1. Kim, Thanks so much for including my in your list of “rocking people”! I really appreciate it. I’m with you when it comes to following the not-so popular bloggers with rocking content. We all get started some time and have to slowly build a following. I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

      BTW – I liked James too. I honestly thought he was going to win. My daughter disagrees with me but I honestly thought it hurt him that he so openly declared his love for his girlfriend. I think the fact that Scotty is so available makes him more appealing to the teenage girls.

      1. Yeah, that is what’s sad with popularity contests, Sherryl. The married guy or the guy with the girlfriend rarely wins.

  19. Sherry,

    Great post as usual. I personally do not watch American Idol, but people do judge on a variety of different things, sometimes on things that do not cross our minds that they notice. I try to be different by focusing on the financial services industry. While I want my information to useful to all, I mainly focus on financial services.

    Happy blogging,
    Jenn

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Finding your niche and sticking with it is a smart thing to do. It comes down to good content. At the end of the day, all of the American Idol contestants are talented regardless of who wins. The judges are always telling the contestants to find ‘their song”. As bloggers, we need to find “our voice”. You just helped me find another comparison. 🙂

  20. Hi, Sherryl. Although I don’t watch American Idol or shows like it here in Australia, I get your comparing blogging to it. Since I’ve been participating in the blogging community, I saw that the bloggers with the most followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook are almost always those that are popular. However, I also noted that most of them have great, thought-provoking, inspiring and meaty content on their sites. So, I think bloggers go for those whose popularity is backed by quality. 🙂

    1. Hi Wes, Sounds like you’ve done a really good job of following good bloggers on Twitter and Facebook. There are definitely plenty of bloggers out there with thousands of followers that neither you nor I would want to be associated with. I think we’re both lucky to be part of a community of those great bloggers that you’re talking about. Thanks for reading and commenting even though you don’t watch American Idol. You’re certainly not alone in that. 🙂

  21. Well, you know what, I guess I’m not the only one in this world that’s not a big fan of American Idol actually. But now, I think I’m going to start watching it, yeah, to see whether there’s going to be a reason I can get or not from watching it. Great article anyway.

  22. I see where your metaphor is going and it makes me feel it’s time to change up the voice most have become used to since I started to seriously blog. I want to inject more of my humor side into my blog and this post really helps. Thanks, Sherryl!

    1. You’re welcome Dennis. I usually write more on the serious side myself but I like to mix it up a little too. I’m trying to really be more clever with my titles. We’ll see what happens. Good luck injecting humor. It should be easy for you to do because your illustrations are so clever.

  23. Very interesting post! I’m not an American Idol follower, but there are definite similiarities to what you mentioned and blogging. There are so many numbers to focus on and follow. I have to admit, I hadn’t before heard of BizSugar, BlogEngage, BlogInteract and Blokube…. rest assured they are on my list to check out now!

    1. Billye, I’m not necessarily endorsing participating in any of those sites. (I’m not recommending not participating either.) I’ve been closely monitoring my referral traffic and (so far) Twitter is my number one source of referral traffic with LinkedIn and Facebook following. The other social networking sites that I mentioned have been good for building relationships and supporting other bloggers but with the exception of BizSugar, the traffic that I’m driving from them is negligible. (Even with BizSugar, it depends upon the topic I’m blogging about.) I think the best use of your energy (at least for now) is to find forums and blogs where your niche target client is. Another site that you might want to start commenting on is Tia Peterson’s BizChickBlogs. There are lots of other bloggers to connect with there and a variety of topics to comment on.

  24. There are many parallels between the two. It’s the same in most industries – they have their “stars”. just look at web design – over the past few years we have seen a few individuals rise who get treated like Gods by designers everywhere. Is this right? probably not, but every industry needs it’s “stars”, and this is achieved by profile building and (usually) being quite good, consistently, at what you do.

    1. I think a lot of these “stars” have executed very targeted strategic plans that go beyond building awareness to building relationships. Anyone who is trying to run a successful business definitely needs to pay attention to not only who is a mega-star but what path have they followed to achieve this status. Thanks for adding to the conversation Matt!

      1. Oh yea, it’s great business sense for the, it’s also a good idea to follow them. It must be very difficult to achieve and sustain that kind of authority though.

  25. We have the Australian version and although I don’t watch it I do sometimes see news associated with it.

    The problem for people going for popularity and get caught up with the numbers is they forget that what or who was popular one year may be different the next. The contestants in Idol ultimately want a chance to get money for their singing. The one question I have is why so many people get caught up in blogging popularity contests and look never at the ROI for the time invested. They may be the most popular but that may just give a warm feeling for a short time.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Susan. Popularity does build awareness but bottom line, is it the right awareness? Is it resulting in sales or new clients? I don’t think a lot of business people look at their time as part of their ROI. That’s why I find so many people who will spend months on projects (like building their own website) when they could have outsourced the job to a professional for a fraction of the cost (with a better end product as the result). Some people just don’t put a value on their time.

  26. I have to agree with Catarina Alexon here, the most popular blogs are the ones that appeal to the masses. It is much of the same in Idol, but dont thik you can make it to the to without the talent and a exellent voice. In blogging I think trends and popularety plays a bigger role.
    You dont have to write masterpices to be a popular blogger, but to be a respected blogger you need qualety content.

    1. Bjorn, You make an excellent point about quality content and being respected. I agree that you have to be popular to some extent. People always prefer to do business with people that they like. The same goes for reading blogs. There are so many sources available to obtain the same information, most people would rather go to a blog where they can feel that they’re welcome and are part of the community. Thanks for dropping by!

  27. Think I watched it for about 10 minutes once when I lived in Riyadh.

    You can compare it to blogs in the sense that blogs that appeal to a huge amount of people are the winners.

    Intellectual blogs will never be that popular. The most popular blog in Sweden is for instance a young girl writing about clothes, parties, exercise and so forth. A pretty average girl who just managed to be the first one, get a huge following and then earning mega bucks.

    The masses love her and that’s the key to fame in the blogging world. Seriously think if there had been more to her she would never have become that popular.

    1. Isn’t it amazing how someone like this girl could become so popular? She obviously found her niche and connected on some level with her target readers. I think it’s that personal connection that I found interesting when watching American Idol. Everyone seemed to believe that there would be two men standing at the end of this contest. I swear the fact that one of them openly claimed his love for his girlfriend is the reason that he was voted off. In this particular contest, the majority of the voters are young single girls and women. Once they decided he was unattainable, I believe a lot of them stopped voting for him.

  28. I’ve never seen a blog post with so many questions – the hamster wheel in my brain is spinning faster than ever!

    I think bloggers can learn TONS from American Idol:

    1) Social media shares are “votes” for your content. Your audience likes what it sees and wants to spread that message to friends and colleagues. The more often you are shared (legitimately, not through bots – the numbers are irrelevant if they’re not counting potential clients/readers), the more votes you have.

    2) “Votes” matter in that they give your content to a wide audience that will then examine your content and provide support if they like what they see. If 90% percent of your audience loves you and you’ve only contacted 10 people, that’s an awesome percentage but not a stellar overall number. If 10% of your audience loves you and you’ve contacted 500 people, that’s 50! But think about the effort difference that went into marketing to 500 versus 10; would that effort have been better spent producing better content? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it’s something you MUST consider.

    Also, although plenty of American Idol winners have gone on to lackluster careers while runners up (Jennifer Hudson, anyone?) have thrived. Why? Because their CONTENT is what mattered. American Idol is only a few months of highly controlled samples of these artists’ work. The real test comes with content (in AI’s case, independent albums).

    3) Very few bloggers are solely bloggers. They’re also self-promoters and working with social media specialists and salespeople and media contacts; they wear lots of hats. If a blogger were only a blogger, then the ONLY concern would be content. Because the blogger is a businessperson who needs to grab a wide audience, some of those other things need to be taken into account. Once the stars on AI no longer have every moment of their careers managed by the AI producers, what hats do they adopt on their own? Can they manage their entire career or just sing whatever is on the sheet music in front of them?

    Thanks for the food for thought, Sherryl!

  29. Hi Sherryl
    Never seen American Idol but we have something similar in the UK.

    “Which bloggers are achieving mega-star status? How do we measure success?”

    Great questions, which stopped me dead in my tracks.

    Not sure what parallels may spill over from the TV show but you have certainly got me thinking.

    Is the measure of success profit, amount of business brought in, number of comments?
    For most sites we don’t know anything about profits so we look at the number of comments.

    Perhaps that’s the only measure of success we can see.
    Number of comments and the status of the people making the comments.

    Well thought out post Sherryl

    1. Thanks Keith. I had a little fun with this post. Every year I watch this show and every year I get frustrated when my favorite gets sent home. Somehow, that got me thinking about how we measure success. Some things are so difficult to measure like influence and authority.

  30. I love how you relate American Idol to blogging. However, I look at it this way. There are three judges and there are also three major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing). The text voters clearly suggest the no. of inlinks your blog has 🙂

  31. It’s a good question. From American Idol to the President of the United States, it seems more and more about winning in today’s society hinges on the “likability” factor. Has to make you wonder.

    1. Wow Dianne! I hadn’t even thought of our elections. That is so true. Unfortunately, it will take a lot more than an urgent plea from Jennifer Lopez to “vote for the girls!” before we’ll see a female president.

  32. I’m probably the only person on the planet who has never watched American Idol as I don’t care for reality TV. But every week The New York Times reports on the most-watched show that week and it’s usually American Idol. Today’s headline, “American Idol Again, by a Mile.” And, yes, the show has been a springboard to great success for several past contestants — including those who didn’t win the top prize — think Jennifer Hudson who went on to win an Academy Award and has built a big career for herself. To your point about Twitter, I’m not influenced by the number of followers someone has. I follow people who have something to say to me.

    1. Jeannette, I’m so glad that you took the time to read my post and comment. I wondered if people who didn’t watch American Idol might not bother to read this at all. I confess that I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie myself. (I think it’s a bit of an escape from all the techie stuff I read online.) Sometimes, I am influenced by the # of Twitter followers someone has. If I get notification that someone has started following me and they have a huge number of followers compared to the number that they’re following, it makes me feel a little special. As long as I deem them worthy of having that many followers, I don’t hesitate to follow them back. It’s as you said, “I follow people who have something to say to me.”

  33. Begins blog post instead of comment 🙂

    Is American Idol really a talent search or has it turned into a popularity contest? . . . Is it the goal of the show producers to find a recording artist or to generate buzz and popularity for the show itself?

    While some of this is reality TV, we actually live in the real world, where advertisements (think “money in”) drives anything from length of show (30min vs. 1hr), which day it shows, time slot, etc. “Voting as much as you want” can’t possibly be about talent — those votes indicate how impassioned the tuned-in audience is. The higher the emotional state, the deeper the advertising sinks in. (Forget stats, this is common knowledge.)

    Of course, real talent does get showcased, and those who are watching for talent, and have the means to reach out to that talent, will both see and reach. So, some of the talented folk really win whether or not they get the most votes or get booted off.

    In comparison, yes, I think the explosion of the blogging phenomenon has spawned yet another version of the popularity contest. I wouldn’t say that is necessarily all bad, but sites like Blokube and BlogInteract and others prove the point. Good content doesn’t always make it “to the top.”

    I’ve said this before: I believe the platform these sites are built upon is at fault. The platform itself is meant for “news popularity” similar to Digg and Technorati. If the platform is meant for popularity — not integrity or usefulness of content — what else can be done?

    1. Thanks for your insightful comment Vernessa. (I got a kick out of your “Begins blog post instead of comment”.) 🙂 I agree completely that some (possibly most) of the really good content does not make it to the top of a lot of the social networking sites. I’m actually frustrated by that myself. I get very little traffic directly from sites like BlogEngage and Blokube. I maintain a presence there mainly as part of my overall strategy to continue building relationships with some of the bloggers who actively participate there.

      1. Hi Sherryl,

        Yes, I’m thinking you’ve got an excellent debate going here. 🙂 I wondered what kind of traffic could actually be linked to participation in social writing sites. Not happy to know you don’t get much directly from sites like these, 🙁 but glad to hear your perspective on including them as part of your larger goals.

        That’s probably akin to how participants in American Idol view that process: just part of their overall strategy as they launch and build a career in performance entertainment. (At least we hope they’ve got a strategy, right?)

        1. I think the American Idol contestants (or their managers/parents_ do have overall strategies Vernessa. I’ve never gone so far as to follow them but I believe they all have Facebook pages and I imagine they’re using other social networking sites as well.