Matt James, the first Black Bachelor in the franchise.
Photo: Craig Sjodin / ABC
Single fans got a wake-up call this season. If it wasn’t clear from the racism scandal that put host Chris Harrison on hiatus, the ABC reality series has a little diversity problem in its most diverse season yet. Instagram account @bachelordata has been tracking stats like contestants’ screen time and IG follower growth, putting numbers to issues like representation and platforms they Single fans have been talking for years. The founder of the account, who goes by the name Suzana for the sake of privacy, began by posting her findings on the Bachelor subreddit, then switched to Instagram in February 2020, just before the pandemic closed the series and fans tipped off. the producers.
Amid protests for racial justice last summer, the Bachelor Nation, fans and former contestants, called for the show to take into account its overwhelming white history, and the producers responded with Matt James, the first Black Bachelor in history. The show put together a record 25 women of color to compete for her heart, along with the mandatory 12 white contestants, promising to do them all justice. “We are taking positive steps to expand diversity in our cast, in our staff and, most importantly, in the relationships we show on television,” the producers said in a statement last summer. “We can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all its beautiful love stories.” But that’s not what the numbers say.
Now with over 50,000 Instagram followers, backed by a small team to help input data, and supported by fans on Patreon, @bachelordata has become a necessary resource for viewers wanting to get the big picture. Vulture spoke to Suzana about how she collects the stats each week and what they mean for the show’s latest reckoning.
When you Single The journey began, and how did you go through that transition to track it down?
I started watching the show in college. I was bored in my bedroom, looking for TV shows and I was instantly hooked. But my Single The data journey began in December 2018, just before Colton Underwood’s season began. At that time, I had just become CTO. [for a school district]; I was trying to learn how to use spreadsheets better and nothing sounded worse than an Excel class. So I decided to start tracking Instagram followers manually every day while the show was airing to see what was happening on the show that led to Instagram’s biggest growth. Then it just grew from there.
What inspired you to look at Instagram followers in particular?
It had been discussed frequently, like how many Instagram followers different people had, and I think most of the people who watch the show know that these people are going on the show now and they become big Instagram influencers. I was always curious Why do some people become more important influencers than others? At the time, I really had no way of seeing screen time. So I thought, if I can see individual quotes, what do they translate into in terms of followers? Group dating? Group date lifted? And different things like that. I started collecting that data every day after each week’s episode.
What does tracking all that screen time entail?
A lot. [Laughs] Now, I have someone on board who is helping me every week, because when I started doing it, I would wake up at four, 4:30 in the morning before work after an episode aired so that I could start collecting the data . I just opened Amazon Video, where I buy the season, and it’s a literal start and end and an evaluation based on who’s on the screen and then manually typed into a spreadsheet.
How has doing numbers affected your experience on the show?
I definitely see it with a more critical eye now. I think the term that a lot of people use is franken-biting – I can tell when different segments are extracted and the audio changes in terms of when it was recorded. Looking at it again, I find many more things when I see it again that I missed the first time.
How many hours a week would you say you dedicate to work? The Bachelor?
A lot of. [Laughs] I learned to be much more efficient with spreadsheets, and that was the goal of this project, to learn how to use spreadsheets to help me in my daily work. But for the sustainability of this project, it has been like sinking or swimming. I had to learn to be efficient with my time and how I do things on a weekly basis. If I had to guess, I’d say probably more than eight to ten hours a week.
What has it been like to participate in the Bachelor Nation community on Reddit and Instagram?
I definitely attribute a lot of my learning to the community side. I think one of the best things I hear from him is that the work that I’m doing is what people are discussing in their group talks about the show or, you know, on their Slack channels at work. That is really special to me in terms of how I feel about the show and my participation in it. Single community. I also get a lot of messages that are not so kind, which can be difficult to process. It’s been revealing to see a little glimpse of what some Bachelor Nation contestants get, especially when you’re talking about controversial topics, right?
Yes, I think Bachelor Nation fans get a lot of heat when it comes to controversies. In your opinion, how does the data alter the way we look at fans after the scandals?
I think numbers are hard to dismiss when you have concrete numbers in front of you, like Instagram followers and the discrepancies between white people and people of color on the show and how they are followed on Instagram, but then really being able to look towards behind. with a screen time lens and lack of screen time. This is truly the first season that we have numbers to point to every time we talk about these more difficult conversations. I’m happy to be able to provide those numbers and provide a context for people to walk away when discussing things like screen time, the lack of opportunities for people participating in this show, and how it’s edited.
How have you seen those conversations arise in the wake of this season?
People were really excited about how historic this season was in terms of casting, especially after the executive producers released their statement last summer pledging to show more diverse love stories. This season’s data is especially relevant because people feel like we didn’t see what the producers promised us. I was expecting drama like every season, but I think this season was more focused on drama. We finally got data on that this year in terms of how that screen time felt and who we were watching.
Right, the women of color at the top have some of the lowest screen times in the series.
Instead, we knew more stories and backgrounds of people who left in episode three than we did in our last four. The data does not lie. When you post featured screen time data and people ask, “Who is the person with the most screen time?” and people literally can’t remember it, I think that relates to the story lines and how they are being edited.
It’s hard to say, but how do you think spoilers and ongoing controversies affect things like follower growth data?
Since I started following him, you could see a considerable influence on the growth of Instagram in terms of the first few episodes. Then you would see who was rumored to be making it grow much faster. But we still have to go back so we can collect that screen time and see the influence there. Fortunately, we have it all well documented, about when the spoilers fell and their growth of Instagram on what dates, that we are going to be able to see that.
Earlier in the season, there were rumors that Rachael Kirkconnell would go far. And in the beginning, people would say, “Why is this person gaining so many followers on Instagram when we’ve barely seen them on our televisions?” I don’t love that spoilers are out there because then it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s going on on the show that’s leading to what growth, but it’s inevitable.
With the season ending, is there anything in the data that we can look up to guess? the new bachelorette party?
In fact, one of the biggest indicators is the first date. So if you look at who gets the first individual date each season, we had Hannah Brown, Becca Kufrin, Clare Crawley; We had Ashley Hebert, we had Ali Fedotowsky, we had Jillian Harris. Especially as you go further back, you can see that you have the best chances. This season, I think it was – I should know this from the top of my head – Bri! What happens in “Women Say It All,” I think, is a great indicator. We definitely see who gets on the bench, how that edition goes and how the fans respond.
The official Bachelor Nation Instagram follows you. Wondering if producers are tracking data through your account?
I hope so. I hope they are looking at the data because I am sure it is useful for them to see their screen time and see what impacted the series and what got people talking.