Surprise – social media didn’t win The Voice for Sarah de Bono – Anna Spargo-Ryan

Surprise – social media didn’t win The Voice for Sarah de Bono

Surprise – social media didn’t win The Voice for Sarah de Bono

As you and three million others already know, last night was part two of a staggered grand final of The Voice. In this sometimes singer’s humble opinion, the winner on the night was in fact the one with the best voice, so, hooray! That’s how it’s supposed to work, right? Everyone sings, people vote for the person who sings better than the others, that person wins. Democracy! Applaud Karise Eden.

What I didn’t realise was that apparently Sarah de Bono was supposed to win, because her coach and his wife have the most Twitter followers.

Eden’s victory was an unexpected blow to the power of social media. De Bono walked into the final a favourite, backed by her mentor Joel Madden and his wife Nicole Richie’s combined Twitter following of roughly 4 million people.


Allegedly, everyone fell off their seats and cracked their heads open, because de Bono in fact came fourth, accurately reflecting her lack of basic talent. “But how!” they cried. “Joel Madden and Nicole Richie have so many Twitter followers!”

This is “an unexpected blow to the power of social media” because before now, everyone thought that you could take a product that wasn’t very good and then ask celebrities to tell people to pay literal money to privately endorse it so that the poor quality product can be rewarded.

I don’t really like that or think it’s worth paying money for.

Yes you do!

Oh, well, okay. I’ll give it a chance and make an informed decision.

Just buy it without doing that!

Er, I’d really rather make an informed decision.

No! I got this many followers because I have all the answers to all the questions and my opinion is worth more than yours!

Sorry. Here’s my money.

Social media – and its influential users – is a great way to spread messaging for a product, or in this case a performer on a TV show. But here’s the part that Michael Idato has forgotten.

Yes, having a large social media audience means that statistically there are likely to be a proportion of idiots who will do what they’re told, but ultimately Joel Madden and Nicole Richie are only able to invite users to make their own decision. The fact that their followers are fans of Joel Madden and Nicole Richie does not necessarily mean that they will also invest in what they promote unless it is a good quality product.

New media has allowed consumers to be better informed, not worse. And that means they make decisions based on many more factors than they ever have before. Poor quality products are quickly exposed as such, and that fact is widely communicated.

All of the conversation around mummy bloggers has to me highlighted something very important: you can tell people that it rocks, but if it doesn’t, a) they will find out, and b) your reputation will be damaged. Successful social media PR needs to sit on the solid foundation of something that deserves to be promoted.

Social media will not make your product better.

This may be an “unexpected blow” to the agencies planning to engage social media influencers to sell their products for them, but for those of us who actually use it, it shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.

  • Kelly Exeter

    June 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm Reply

    Brilliantness. You should re-purpose this fast and send it to … someone. I am not sure who but this info belongs in mainstream media somewhere!

  • Julez

    June 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm Reply

    I noticed that you could vote for the final four by downloading songs in itunes and that this counted for 2 votes. Most Gen Y that I know think paying for music is a quaint old fashioned custom. Not too many votes for Sarah that way I would imagine, no matter how enthusiastically Joel and Nicole egged on their followers.

  • Leanne Bishop

    June 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm Reply

    Thank you for this article, hit the nail fair and square on the head!

  • Evelyn

    June 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm Reply

    Totally agree with Kelly. Don’t want to waste any more of your time with my comment – instead spend it pitching this entire article on spec somewhere… Mamamia? Daily Life? Grazia???

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      June 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm Reply

      I think they’re all Voiced out! A couple of nos. Never mind, as long as someone has got something out of it! :D

      • Evelyn

        June 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm Reply

        Oh that sucks! But yes, I really enjoyed reading it.

  • Sarah Moran

    June 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm Reply

    Totes stealing this for presentations. By stealing, I mean bookmarking this URL – Chrome trumps Powerpoint everytime.

Post a Comment