At about 6PM ET on March 3rd, according to the Wall Street Journal, all Twitter, Facebook and MySpace followers of individual American Idol contestants were sent the same message:
“Thanks so much for following me/joining my Fan Page! All my updates from now on will be on our Official American Idol 9 Contestant Page, please become a fan there to read all my updates throughout the season!”
The Wall Street Journal speculates that in this year's thin contestant field, only a few were getting much attention and thus telegraphing their greater popularity. I'm betting they also want to impress sponsors with one big and impressive combined traffic number.
Whatever the reason, they also denied each contestant the ability to grow their own brand and establish more direct to fan connections. Then again Idol was never about building any brand but its own and the singers are mere pawns in that game.
You Can Still Learn Who Fans Are Voting For (If You Care...)
Philip Kaplan of Blippy has just launched Idolnerd.com.
"I'm a nerd who just watched American Idol. I think I can predict who will win each week by writing a program that scours social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, blogs and other sources, and then tally who everyone says they're voting for.
Assuming this data set is roughly statistically equivalent to the people who watch American Idol, and I think it is, the results will be accurate.
Currently gathering data throughout the day.
Votes counted so far: 3,253
If you use Twitter, follow me at @pud and I'll tweet the results when they are computed.