5,628,855 Google hits.
In this third paper on measuring fame quantitatively we present an easy-to-use method for classifying celebrities as a function of fame.
Our research over the past six years has shown that everyone is famous to some extent and that Internet search engines can measure the exact fame of any person (see Schulman 1999 and Schulman and Boissier 2001). Our method for quantifying fame is simple and relies on our previous identification of the universal standard for fame comparison--Monica Lewinsky. Anyone's fame can be precisely determined by comparing the number of search engine hits for that person to the number of search engine hits for Monica Lewinsky.
The concept of classifying people as 'A' List Celebrities, 'B' List Celebrities, and so on is well known, but previous researchers have relied almost exclusively on vague celebrity classification methods such as informal surveys of various research journals. For example, an 'A' List Celebrity might be the subject of a cover story in Time, the picture of a 'B' List Celebrity might appear on the cover of People Magazine, the money troubles of a 'C' List Celebrity might be discussed in the pages of The National Enquirer, and a 'D' List Celebrity might be mentioned briefly on National Public Radio. These methods suffer from multiple problems, including subjectivity, lack of reproducibility, and a notable failure of the methods to properly classify people with low levels of fame. The quantitative method we present here avoids all these problems.
Our method of celebrity classification relies on the fact that human responses to stimuli are not linear. For example, a first magnitude star is 2.5 times brighter than a second magnitude star, which is 2.5 times brighter than a third magnitude star, and so on (Pogson 1856). Such a relationship is called logarithmic. Many scientists since the late 19th century have believed that the responses of our senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch are logarithmic (e.g., Fechner 1860). In this paper we propose that the Weber-Fechner Law of human perception also applies to fame, such that people we perceive as 'A' List Celebrities are on average ten times more famous than people we perceive as 'B' List Celebrities, who are on average ten times more famous than people we perceive as 'C' List Celebrities, and so on.
We classified people in seven different fields (business, film, music, politics, religion, science, and sports) as a function of their fame in terms of the logarithmic international standard unit of fame, the dBLw:
Table 1 shows our classification of 49 people in seven different fields. The Hits column lists the number of Google hits that each person had on October 24, 2005; the Fame column lists their fame in dBLw; and the List column shows their celebrity category.
Table 1: Classified Celebrities
|Eddie From Ohio||Music||88700||-13.02|
|Israel ben Eliezer||Religion||16100||-20.44|
|Chinmoy Kumar Ghose||Religion||688||-34.13|
|Julie Murphy Wells||Music||490||-35.60|
|James Kibo Perry||Religion||143||-40.95|
|H. Leon Denizard Rivail||Religion||55||-45.10||G|
|Daniel T. Arcieri||Science||19||-49.72|
Although our method produces consistent results for all researchers, these results are not constant with time. For example, the Lennon Theorem (1966) stated that The Beatles were "more popular than Jesus" but this is no longer true. In the four years since Schulman and Boissier (2001), The Beatles have become less famous than Jesus Christ while Bill Clinton and Bill Gates have become more famous than Jesus Christ.
Our method has many uses. For example, until now organizations soliciting celebrities for fund-raising events had to rely on expensive consultants to tell them which celebrities would be appropriate for the level of contributions expected. But with our method, 'C' List organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution will only require a few minutes to find that Jason Mewes or Nadia Comaneci have the appropriate level of fame for their purposes. 'D' List organizations may want to note that the author of this paper is a 'D' List Celebrity in the field of science.
Google can be used to quickly, easily, and reproducibly categorize celebrities at all levels of fame.
Fechner, G. T. 1860, Elemente der Psychophysik.
Lennon, J. 1966, London Evening Standard, March 4.
Pogson, N. 1856, "Magnitudes of Thirty-six of the Minor Planets for the First Day of each Month of the Year 1857," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 17, 12.
Schulman, E. 1999, "Can Fame Be Measured Quantitatively?" AIR, 5, 3, 16.
Schulman, E. and Boissier, S. 2001, "How Should Fame Be Measured Quantitatively?" AIR Online, November 5.