Analyzing Reactions to The Bachelor

by Rachel Beenders, SMACC Student Analyst

One of my favorite TV series to watch is The Bachelor on ABC. The Bachelor is an American dating and relationship series that engages men and women. This season has been marked by unprecedented controversies involving racism and diversity. Matt James, who is known as the first African American bachelor, dealt with some recent issues from one of the contestants. This contestant Rachel Kirkconnel, who attended an old south antebellum-themed party, was accused of being racist for attending this party. This series host, Chris Harrison, defended Rachel Kirkconnel, and left the reality series after nearly 20 years. This analysis examines social media discussions related to Harrison’s final season and eventual retirement from The Bachelor.

Using Meltwater, a social media analytic tool, I created a search using the keywords “Chris Harrison”, and “The Bachelor” to get insights about the host. I set my dates from January 4th, which was the start of Matt James season,  to the most current day of August 30th. The first dashboard widget that I found interesting was the social reach vs. social volume. Social volume gives insights into the number of post that used these keywords, such as tweets and blog post. On the other side, social reach estimates the maximum potential number of social media users that were exposed by the media coverage. In addition, I found it very intriguing to see that on February 13th, the dashboard shows that the social volume was 4.97k, but the total social reach was 107 million. This truly broke my expectations when I learned that this was the day when Chris Harrison stepped aside from the show. In addition, this was also the date when Chris Harrison was called out by another African American contestant on the show. Another interesting example is shown on March 5th, which indicates a social volume of 958, and the social volume of 170 million potential social media users. With my social media research, I included that this was the day that Chris Harrison apologized to ‘Good Morning America’ and stated that he made a mistake. Lastly, I found a major spike on June 8th, which had a social reach of the maximum potential audience of 216 million. From my research, this information matters because this is when Chris Harrison supposedly left The Bachelor franchise.

Timeline of social reach and spread showing several major spikes of volume and potential audience reach.
Timeline of social reach and spread showing several major spikes of volume and potential audience reach.

I learned from the content stream widget that Chris Harrison plots for a comeback on the show. The content stream shows the most recent interactions about this topic and I found out that Chris Harrison plans to be a host again. Specifically, from @TheSunTV states that he is clearly NOT retiring from the show. I had no idea he was coming back and I was drawn in to research more information about the topic.

Tweet reads: "Bachelor ex host Chris Harrison is 'plotting next move and NOT retiring'
Tweet suggesting that Harrison is not retiring from The Bachelor.

In addition, the Meltwater application gives insights and interesting data from the sentiment dashboard. Sentiment analysis examines keywords from posts and uses these keywords to estimate whether each post contains positive or negative emotions. On February 13th, the day when Chris Harrison stepped aside from The Bachelor, I truly found that there were negative tweets and content about his decision. I also found new sentiment research that could have been completely misled by the audience. I filtered through the data and found that many tweets that were shown as negative, were surprisingly positive towards Chris Harrison. Specifically, on August 30th it was established that Chris Harrison got a new car for his mother after being officially fired from the show. That is right…. There will be no comeback for Chris Harrison on The Bachelor.

Posts discussing Chris Harrison's $15M exit package from The Bachelor.
Posts discussing Chris Harrison’s $15M exit package from The Bachelor.
Sentiment analysis of posts related to Chris Harrison and The Bachelor
Sentiment analysis of posts related to Chris Harrison and The Bachelor

Lastly, I found the most intriguing data on Matt James and Rachel Kirkconnel’s relationship. Despite the season’s controversies about racism, I learned that Rachel Kirkconnel and Matt James are officially together as a biracial couple. This is completely counterintuitive and breaks my expectations on how I thought this would end. This not only rebrands the show, but seems to suggest that Rachel Kirkconnel may not be racist in the way that her previous actions suggested. Despite this surprise ending, I predict that these two will not stay together based on the data and information that has shown through the past eight months.

Post reads "Matt James and Rachael Kirconnell's Bachelor the love story was a journey - on screen and off. ABC named the 29-year-old Wake Forest...
Post discussing James & Kirkconnell’s relationship.

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