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Bill Clinton vs. Paula Abdul: a study in substance and sensationalism

On Wednesday morning, around the time Bill Clinton was landing triumphantly in Los Angeles with two reporters granted pardons by the North Korean government, word was spreading that Paula Abdul will not return for another season of American Idol. Which bit of news would you guess spread faster and generated more buzz on the Web?

A cynic might predict that in our celebrity-obsessed culture, the co-host of a TV show with 25 million viewers would command more attention than “real news”; you know, the sort with implications for international relations. Of course, the story of the Current TV reporters sentenced to years of hard labor was inherently compelling. Still, Abdul announced her departure from the show on her Twitter page, arguably giving her a head start on the social Web.

This time around, the cynic would be wrong. In the 48 hours to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Clinton garnered 78 percent more mentions on Twitter and 180 percent more blog posts than Abdul. Her announcement briefly caused a spike in tweets late Tuesday evening that eclipsed talk about Clinton, but the former president’s command of mindshare amongst tweeters was more sustained. His landmark North Korea visit and negotiation also was discussed on more than 9,500 posts tracked by the Cision Social Media Dashboard.

Mentions of Bill Clinton and Paula Abdul on Twitter

Source: Cision Social Media Dashboard. Aug. 3-5, 2009

Source: Cision Social Media Dashboard Aug. 3-5, 2009

Mentions of Bill Clinton and Paula Abdul on Blogs

Source: Cision Social Media Dashboard Aug. 3-5, 2009

Source: Cision Social Media Dashboard Aug. 3-5, 2009

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