It’s safe to say that CM Punk moves the needle. As reported by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, Punk’s first appearance this Wednesday on AEW’s flagship program, Dynamite, was seen by almost 1.2 million viewers, and scored the show its highest rating in the all-important 18-49 age demographic (a 0.48) since its very first episode. Punk’s AEW debut on last Friday’s second edition of Rampage drew almost as many viewers, even at the 10:00 pm “death slot,” and actually outpaced WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown in males 18-49.
Sorry Chris Jericho, there’s a new Demo God in town.
Twitter user “miber” made a graphical representation of Punk’s domination in another statistic — number of Twitter likes on the official announcement of a wrestler’s addition to the AEW roster.
Punk’s lead here is staggering, but check out who comes after him. The rest of the top four are Jon Moxley, Miro, and Sting, in that order. STING??? “The Icon” who was a main pillar of WCW during the period they were kicking WWE’s ass in the legendary “Monday Night Wars”? Only #4? How can that be?
Again, it’s all about the demo. Think about how old the average Twitter user is.
Of course, to do that, you have to first define what “average” means. The one we typically think of when using the word is the mean, which you calculate by adding all the numbers in your set together and dividing that value by how many numbers you had. But is this the average that will help us figure out the Punk-Sting conundrum? Probably not.
Yes, believe it or not, there are OTHER kinds of averages. The median simply looks at the lowest number and the highest number and gives the midpoint between the two. So let’s say the oldest person on Twitter is 100 (come on, there must be one). The platform only allows users who are 18 or older, so the median Twitter user would then be 59 years old. That … doesn’t seem very helpful, either.
Want we want is the mode, which is the most common value. That might sound a lot like the mean, but imagine a Slayer concert (stay with me; I swear this is going somewhere). Most people there are probably oldheads who started listening in the ’80s, so … maybe around 45-50? Then there are some older teenagers, 18 or 19, who just discovered heavy music and want to differentiate themselves from their pop-listening peers (and maybe, God willing, to piss off their parents). Everyone else — and there aren’t many others left — fall somewhere in between.
Take the mean of that data set, and you might get an age in the late 30s, which isn’t representative at all. The fact that there isn’t a smooth distribution over the range of numbers, but instead most values are about the same, tells you that to get the clearest picture, you want the mode — the most common single value (or small subset of values) from your original set.
As you might expect, the age of Twitter users skews young. According to the website Statista, as of April of this year, 42% of U.S. Twitter users — approaching HALF of all — were 18-29 years old. If you consider that Sting was at the height of his popularity in 1997, the oldest of that cohort was only 5 when the Stinger slew Hollywood Hogan at Starrcade. Which of course also means they were just the right age to be gripped by Punk’s “pipe bomb” promo in 2011.
So Twitter didn’t lose their minds for Sting for the simple reason that most users barely remember him. If you add users 30-49, you account for more than two thirds of everyone on the platform.
Sorry Chris Jericho, and sorry Generation X. You know you’re old when no one gets your movie references, the grocery store plays your jams over the loudspeaker, and Twitter doesn’t give a sh*t about Sting.
The Critical Angle is a recurring feature that uses critical thinking and skepticism to analyze pop culture phenomena. Skepticism is an approach to evaluating claims that emphasizes evidence and applies the tools of science. Rather than repeating the same old arguments, we put them to the test.
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