Want to know who’s going to be kicked off American Idol each week? You don’t need to wait until the show is over each week. Instead, you can join the IdolFanatic Facebook Page where you can vote on who wins. So far there are only 12,000 users or so, however week after week, the application has perfectly predicted who has won (see chart below).
While we’re not sure how well the voting will perform as the application becomes more diluted, it appears that this group of users are extremely effective at predicting not only who will be kicked off, but the bottom three that will be selected each week. Granted, there is only two weeks of data currently, but it’s interesting to see this continued trend. The real question is whether social networks are simply an effective method for polling users, or if this is just a fluke.
I should also note that the fans of the “Idol Fanatic” page are casting real votes each week. In order to maintain the integrity of the votes, users who register for the application (which was developed by an independent developer) will have their vote confirmed by quickly registering a Ribbit account, which requires entering their phone number. Once a Ribbit account is created, the company then automatically dials in the votes on the day of American Idol voting. A true statistician would tell us that this isn’t a fluke, but instead a large enough sampling size. For example, to be 99 percent (with a confidence interval of + or – 2 percent) accurate in a population of 150 million users (a randomly large size), you would only need to poll 4,160 users.
With over 12,000 fans, the company has an effective sample size. So, if you are looking to crowdsource your next survey, you may just want to turn to Facebook to get your answers!