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Susan Boyle and The Power of the Long Tail

by Anthony J. Bradley  |  April 20, 2009  |  1 Comment

The Susan Boyle phenomenon is a great example of Long Tail economics as applied to social software and mass collaboration.

Susan Boyle is a very unlikely candidate as a music idol and would be and has been overlooked by the traditional “all head, no tail” music industry. However, the combination of the “Britain Has Talent” show spark (British version of USA’s “American Idol” show) and the YouTube/social networking combustion chamber has led to an explosion taking her from long tail obscurity to multi-national phenomenon.

This is in response to the narrow-view mind set as put forth in books and articles such as Andrew Keen’s “The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture.”

The social movement is often about finding the hidden gems in the mountains of rocks whether that gem is a ground-breaking innovation, game-changing idea, hard to find solution to a very difficult problem, or even a Susan Boyle.

Her’s is also a very inspiring story.

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Category: social-solutions  

Tags: expertise-location  long-tail  

Anthony J. Bradley
GVP
10 years at Gartner
26 years in IT

Anthony J. Bradley is a group vice president in Gartner Research responsible for the research content that Gartner publishes through its three internet businesses (softwareadvice.com, capterra.com and getapp.com). These responsibilities include creating and leading the research organization and infrastructure needed for the strategy formulation, planning, research, creation, editing, production and distribution of the content. He has four global teams of highly talented people who are advancing towards the world's greatest destination for content on how small businesses succeed through information technology.


Thoughts on Susan Boyle and The Power of the Long Tail


  1. An inspiring story indeed. I for one have watched that video more times than I care to admit (I love a story with an unlikely ending). Of course, this one is not over – and I suspect Susan Boyle will also become an instance of the hype cycle.

    Events that are triggered by something that departs from the status quo with this much momentum and speed are subject to the natural evolution of hype characterized by Jackie Fenn many years ago. I would bet Ms. Boyle is one of them. Like anything that catapults this quickly, she could indeed come crashing down and either stay there, or emerge from the trough of disillusinment into a plateau of something more steady – and yes, mainstream.

    In the meantime, she should soak it all in, but my advice to Ms. Boyle: brace yourself for the fall.



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