Popularity Contests

The Economist’s Daily Chart this week highlights the average earnings that are paid to celebrities for endorsing products on social media. Quite a lot as it transpires, with payments up to $300k for a single post on YouTube; but it all depends on the number of people following you. Can we use Twitter followings as a proxy for other popularity power battles?  On this basis, Donald Trump (12.5m followers) would beat Hillary Clinton (9.7m), but both are dwarfed by Barack Obama (78m). Jeremy Corbyn (650k) would beat Theresa May (170k) and Nigel Farage (485k) would beat Donald Tusk (400k).  Pop stars Justin Bieber (88m ‘Beliebers’) and Katy Perry (93m ‘KatyCats’) duke it out for the #1 celebrity slot, but Bieber’s prodigious posting (an incredible 30k tweets) and following of others (288k followed) are perhaps what propels him to higher net worth ($200m v $125m). Meanwhile, Kanye West has 28m followers, but he only follows one person – surprisingly not himself, but his wife.