Al Gore claimes that his 24 hour ManBearPigathon Festival of Fear hauled in 8.6 million viewers. But, it didn’t.
Not content with having invented the internet, the great Climate Science communicator Al Gore appears to have developed still more miraculous skills of late: the ability to turn 17,000 into 8.6 million – just like that.
The figures refer to the number of “views” for Gore’s special “24 Hours Of ManBearPig” which this column helped celebrate the other day. Gore claims that as many as 8.6 million flocked to his thrilling festival of climate fear; but a nasty cruel man called Charles the Moderator at Watts Up With That? has “done the math” and reckons the figure is probably more like 17,000. And that, he believes, is a generous estimate.
I think Watt’s Up With That is probably under counting, but not intentionally and not by all that much. He looks at views and time spent on the Goracle’s main site, but that wasn’t the only place to view his bore-a-thon. It was also on ustream, which keeps its own stats. Check my work (that’s science!) but I see about half a million views there. That doesn’t mean that half a million people stayed with the entire 24 hours, lordy no, just that half a million stopped by at some point, on the ustream feed, and got counted. It was on the ustream front page during the broadcast, so some probably got counted just by innocently going to ustream just to see their favorite shock jock or whatever. A whole lot probably stopped by to rubberneck at the spectacle and moved on after a few seconds or so. Hundreds may have died of boredom and ended up looking like skeletal props for the next Indiana Jones film. I’m pretty good with facebook stats but Gore’s Climate Change Reality Project seems to be broken out in ways that make it tough to get any kind of read on its total facebook audience. Remember, he wanted to take it viral by hijacking individual feeds — getting real stats on that is something only facebook itself can probably do. Ditto for twitter. So Watt’s Up probably does have the most reliable single stat, he just hasn’t taken the ustream traffic into account — as he states in his post, actually. But Gore’s 8.6 million? That’s snake oil, is what that is.
But hey, don’t let that stop you from trusting him with the entire global economy, as he’s pretty much asking everyone to do.