Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Online: Rise to fame or fall from grace

This year’s X Factor is proving how influential social media can be on generating support from the public. Last year Simon Cowell introduced live audiences to the audience process, bringing the public closer to the judging panel to have their say. But with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter the ‘judging’ goes beyond the audition.

The contestants that have got it right are the ones that already have Twitter accounts and fan pages before their audition appears on TV. Those that saw them in the live auditions have already become Facebook fans and are following them on Twitter, so by the time they appear on our screens they have thousands of followers. The support they get through social media is obviously seen by the producers of X Factor and help them realise which contestants are of interest to the public. Last year’s finalists all had Twitter accounts and Facebook fan pages and kept the public up to date with their experience throughout the show.

Looking at an example from this season, Cher Lloyd (or mini Cheryl Cole as you may remember her), on the night of her audition she became the most popular trend on Twitter in the UK, possibly ensuring she makes it to the live finals.
But for those contestants that have a past (and lets face it many of them do) the world wide web does everything it can to show them in a negative light, giving them their five minutes of fame, but perhaps hindering their chances of ever making it past boot camp.

Take Chloe Mafia for example, the 19 year old was put through even after a not so great audition (judges decision, not ours!), but the media has done its research, found out about her criminal past and splashed it all over the front cover of every tabloid newspaper since her audition. With the backlash she has received on Twitter and Facebook her future as an X Factor contestant looks like its about to come to an end.

And moving away from the X Factor, look at the David Beckham rumour that is running around Twitter today. The journalists have heard a rumour from the American press. Although they can’t reveal what the story is just yet (I’m sure the lawyers are trying to stop it) but they can certainly get their followers guessing and gossiping about the story simply by posting the words “If the Beckham rumours are true he’s in serious trouble”.

Since I first started writing this post the story has in fact been revealed by In Touch magazine and the whole Beckham story is spreading like Wildfire. We here are split in the office by those tweeting and those not as to who knows what’s going on and who will find out a few days later when the UK press finally print the story.

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