With $100,000 on the line, one of three Ink Master finalists advanced to the final round of judging based on twitter popularity. Votes were placed during the live finale by posting tweets that contain particular hashtags. The contestant who received the most votes was announced, but details of the results were not seen during the finale and have not been made available online.
Since the results are there on twitter for all to see, I decided to take a peek and look at exactly what happened.
What is Ink Master?
Ink Master is a reality competition television series on Spike TV, where contestants are judged on their tattooing ability. This year saw the 8th round of the competition and the live season finale ran last week, on Tuesday December 6th, 2016.
Three of the original 18 contestants made it to the finale, where they had to ink a 6 hour “live tattoo” that was judged by twitter users. The person receiving the most votes progressed to the final stage of judging, while one of the other two was eliminated on the spot.
After each completed “live tattoo” was revealed, viewers were given a small window of about 15 minutes to post tweets that would be counted as votes. As per the official rules, a twitter user could cast as many votes as they want and all would be tallied. A tweets had to contain the hashtag #InkKelly, #InkGian, or #InkRyan to be counted as a vote.
Here are the three finalists and their “live tattoos”:
- Posts made in between 10:32 and 10:45 (the official voting period) are counted as votes
- Retweets do not count as votes
- A single post can be used to vote for more than one competitor, this did not occur very often but there are no rules against it
I ended up counting approximately 65,000 votes for Kelly, Gian and Ryan combined . These were split as seen below:
The time series plot shows how posts were heavily localized to the voting period. In particular, there was a large influx of posts right after the voting window opened at around 10:32.
All competitors were pretty even for the first few seconds, but Ryan’s votes soon spiked to a rate of 300 per second and continued at a higher rate than Kelly and Gian through the remainder of the voting period.
Ryan indeed advanced to the final round based on her majority vote by twitter. The judges proceeded to select Gian to compete with her for the title of Ink Master and Ryan ended up coming out on top.
Initially I was surprised that users would be allowed to vote multiple times, as it would open the door to spamming. However I later realized the effectiveness of this tactic as a means of generating more exposure for the show. As it turns out, this rule had no effect on the outcome. Counting only one vote per user, the time series looks much the same:
Subtle differences are more visible later in the voting period, as many users had posted already and additional posts were being logged more frequently.
Most users, about 75%, voted only once. Out of those who voted multiple times the average number of posts was 3.3 and median was 2. So most people didn’t really spam at all. But some did. Here are the highest vote counts I found:
I really enjoy watching Ink Master and wanted to give a shout out to all the competitors this year for their hard work.
In particular, the three finalists created 24-hour chest tattoos which were all phenomenal and deserve to be seen. They are included below.
 – I am missing votes from posts that were deleted after the voting period ended. Presumably, at least, the number of deleted posts should be similar for each contestant.