Monday, May 13, 2013

Idol Tweets: Mapping the Social Space with Twitter

Idol Tweets: Mapping the Social Space with Twitter:
Many viewers who tuned into American Idol on April 4th expected the dismissal of Lazaro Arbos, a likeable young man with an endearing stutter but marginal talent and an unfortunate tendency to forget lyrics. They were stunned when Burnell Taylor was eliminated instead. Arbos inexplicably wound up in the top three of the remaining contestants, despite a reedy, squirm-inducing rendition of Queen's "We Are the Champions" the night before.
Perhaps those viewers should have been monitoring the Twitter chatter more carefully. American Idol has never been exclusively about rewarding merit; it is the voters, not the judges, who have the final word. I call it the "Squee Factor." Arbos's inspiring personal story won him a rabid fan base, dubbed "Lazzies," who choked the social networking feed each week with outpourings of devotion, urging each other to save him from elimination. According to Alessandro Vespignani , a computational physicist at Northeastern University, all those tweets collectively contain enough information to predict which contestants are likely to be eliminated.