Last week, we published an info graphic with lots of “taste data” about “Game of Thrones” fans. Basically, we used all the data we’re collecting about people’s preferences in Ranker to make some educated guesses about what else people who like “Game of Thrones” might like. Why? Mostly because we can, but also because we figured people could potentially find it interesting.
After we showed the infographic to the world, a lot of people wrote to us asking how we actually arrived at these conclusions. (And yes, some of them just wanted to be sure we weren’t just making the whole thing up.)
It all starts with votes. Thousands of people have voted on Ranker lists on which “Game of Thrones” appears. If they’re on a list that’s “positive” (for example, “Best Premium Cable Shows”) and they vote “Game of Thrones” up, we know they like the show. If we notice they also vote for “Game of Thrones” on other lists (“Most Loving Caresses of Dragon Eggs in TV History,” for example), we know they REALLY like the show.
Then we look at all the other Ranker lists where that person has voted, and get a sense for what else they like, and what else they hate.
But we don’t stop there. The next step is to arrange people into clusters based on their specific preferences. If 80% of the people who vote on Ranker lists like “The Simpsons,” and 80% of “Game of Thrones” fans like “The Simpsons,” that’s not very meaningful at all. But if only 20% of people who vote like “The Simpsons,” and 80% of “Game of Thrones” fans like “The Simpsons,” then we’ve learned something statistically significant about these people.
But what about fans of “Simpsons” parodies of “Game of Thrones,” you might ask… if you were purposefully trying to confuse me.
These “clusters” of people with tastes that are aligned will teach us basically everything we need to know to make educated guesses about what random Ranker users will like. In our next post, we’ll explore exactly how we use these “taste clusters” to draw conclusions.
At Ranker HQ, we’re constantly monitoring the topics that get ranked a lot. It’s pretty easy to tell when a certain book or movie or musical artist is getting popular or hitting critical mass just based on how frequently the name is mentioned on lists. This is especially true of TV, where the start of a new season for a popular show means an eruption of lists mentioning that show. (Don’t believe me? Check out all the “Mad Men” lists streaming in!)
We weren’t necessarily surprised that HBO viewers were losing their heads for “Game of Thrones.” (See what I did there?) It’s back for Season 2, and obviously Rankers are going to have fun making tons of lists about the sword-and-sorcery-and-skin fantasy series based on George R. R. Martin’s novels. Instead, we were intrigued because the data reveals Game of Thrones fans are just as… idiosyncratic as the show they love. (Yes, idiosyncratic is a nice way of putting it. But hey, we’re not here to INSULT our users.)
And we say this not just because they watch a show in which incest happens as often as other series take commercial breaks. Also because they overwhelming love villainous characters and anti-heroes and they prefer a lot of lesser-known shows that failed to ever find an audience.
Read on for more insight into the weird, even twisted world of “Game of Thrones” fans (or Throne-heads, as we’ve dubbed them.)
Like the graphic? Feel free to repost it anywhere you like. Spread the word throughout the Seven Kingdoms!
Just posted to our new Ranker “Data” blog is a fascinating infographic exploring the tastes and interests of hardcore “Game of Thrones” fans. The results are… you guessed it… a bit strange. Click through to see our findings.
Mad Men is one of the most critically acclaimed shows on television, and several of us at Ranker are fans. It is returning for Season Five this Sunday with a 2 hour premiere. So we did some Mad Men lists for your enjoyment:
Mad Men Season Five’s Promo Poster had ample blank space. This fostered some great subway, photoshop and street artists to take advantage. These are the top 20 Mad Men Season Five Promo Graffiti Posters.
Ranker is continuing to grow, both in terms of the traffic that comes to our website and in terms of our coverage of the world of objects to be ranked. As we grow, we collect more and more data and are only beginning to tap the possibilities of the data we collect. If you’re interested in our data, this video will hopefully give you a quick introduction to data at Ranker.com.
Below is a narrated powerpoint from a presentation I gave at South by Southwest Interactive on March 11, 2012. The point of this presentation was to explore the intersection of technology and psychology, and hopefully to convince technologists to try to use our data to examine intangible things like values. While the talk focuses more on psychology, many of the ideas were inspired by the semantic datasets we work with at Ranker. Working with semantic datasets puts one in the mindset of considering synergy among different fields with different kinds of data.