There’s a study buzzing around that buzz on Twitter can be an accurate predictor of a movie’s box-office success. As usual with things like this there’s an outsized importance that’s being given to the platform and not enough being given to what lies underneath.
It’s not that the movies that people are talking about a lot on Twitter wind up doing well. It’s that that movies that people are talking about are doing well.
This is an off-shoot of the problem that popped up last year when all the industry publications and writers started wringing their hands over the “Twitter effect” that was ruining studio marketing campaigns.In that case it wasn’t that there was anything new that was going on – it was plain old-fashioned word-of-mouth that was killing movies mere days (down from weeks) after their release. So it was the speed that was increasing, not the actual thing that was happening.
Movies have always lived or died after their first week based on word of mouth. It’s just that now that word of mouth is happening and being distributed in new and different ways. What’s exciting about this is that it’s measurable now, as opposed the crude guessing that was done before.
So studies like this are valuable, but they need to be put in a context that’s larger than Twitter and more encompassing of word-of-mouth as a whole, of which Twitter is only one small subset that comes with a ton of qualifications and caveats.No tags for this post.