These days, almost all competitions are determined via public voting. This idea is mainly anchored on the fact that the people should be given the right to choose who they want to be the winner of a particular competition, as they are seen as the best judge. It is just like the elections in a democratic society. The voice of the people is deemed sacred and must be respected.
Back then, when reality shows started, winners were partially determined by text votes. The other part of the decision would come from the judges. However, with the rise of popularity contests such as American Idol, the decision is now solely given to the people.
Since this style of determining the winner has started, it has become a trend, not only in the US, but all around the world as well. In fact, not only reality shows are a product of this phenomenon. It also includes small competitions such as photography contests. In order to determine the winner, one must receive the most number of likes in Facebook or in other social media outlets. In fact, a few years ago, the new Wonders of the World contest was chosen via Facebook likes. Beauty pageants have not escaped this trend. In major pageants like the Miss Universe and Miss USA, a candidate may enter the semifinals after getting the most number of votes. She may also be saved if she gets the most number of tweets.
The whole idea of empowering the people might seem really good. However, is it fair? Can we trust the mob to select the right winner? Will this not promote other problems such as social divisions and regionalism?
The Down Sides of Public Voting
The sad fact about public voting is that there is actually no means of controlling the people. Let’s say these shows want to empower the people and make them the judge. If it is like the regular elections where everyone gets one vote, whatever the social status is, it would have been fair. However, in the case of reality shows, people can vote as many times as they want. There are also different forms of voting including SMS, Facebook, iTunes, online polls and many others. Sometimes, everything goes beyond control. At the end of the day, the winner may either be someone who has the capacity to buy a huge number of votes or someone coming from a state that has a huge population.
The idea of voting someone based on talent or skill is now gone. Yes, some people still vote based on their personal standards, but a majority of the people don’t. As a result, we have seen several editions of reality shows from around the world where the winner is not necessarily the best from the bunch.
The Big Winner
At the end of the day, the only ones who benefit are the producers and the people running the show. Imagine the amount that they can gather from millions of votes sent per edition or season. They might say that the votes received by the candidates determine their future. However, this is not necessarily the case. How many reality show winners have really soared high? For some, after winning, they find themselves with no career ahead of them. There were those who have lost, but were able to make bigger names for themselves.
However, people get so hooked with all the dramas created by these reality shows. Many people don’t mind paying just to vote for whoever they want to win. If this continues, some of our personal values will surely be placed into question.