The hype that is The X Factor and Jedward

Now, I don’t watch The X Factor, but being on Twitter and Facebook, I’ve obviously heard about this year’s contestants. I did, however, catch this weeks results show.

Now all I’d heard of Lucie Jones was her part in the Katy Perry song at the top of the show (X factor Finalists sing Hot’n’Cold)¬†and I don’t think she should have gone based on that – she did that song brilliantly. Equally, the twins can’t sing but are (relatively) fun to watch.

This post isn’t about that though really – it’s about the way the internet can hype these things. After the show, I changed my Facebook status to “Jedward ftw!”, to see what’d happen. Sure enough I was inundated with replies, most of them incredulous that I could think such a thing. However, over in some Facebook groups, this was occurring on a much greater and more interesting scale. Within a few hours, thousands of people had joined a group called “I hate Simon Cowell for keeping Jedward in!” It is now at over 3300 less than 24 hours later, and this is just one group. What is also surprising is the level of vitriol that Simon Cowell and John and Edward are subjected to on it.

I think this just proves the power of social media (maybe I should be a “Social Media Consultant” whatever that is…), along with the previous 2 notable social media stories: Trafigura/Carter-Ruck and Stephen Gately/Jan Moir.

What got me actually thinking about this over dinner last night was this question though:

Would The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing be as successful without “social media” and/or Web 2.0?

There is of course data from the pre-Facebook, Twitter and MySpace age for shows like Big Brother and I’m a celebrity… so it couldn’t be that hard. Even so, pretty far away from my preferred field of structural biology. Think I’ll leave it to a social scientist somewhere…