Some of those cogs are things specifically for the contestants - the people actively engaged in writing the entries.
Some are for the readers - encouraging people to read and support their favorites.
Some are for the viewers - which might seem like the same as above, but from a "production standpoint", there are people who follow the community, who enjoy seeing things play out, but may not always have the time to read.
Some are just for me, to keep *me* engaged and interested!
Some are for the community itself - which is a hodgepodge of all those other elements, but often has an agenda all of its own! ;)
And of course, some of it is combination of all of these things, all boiled down in the great melting pot that is Idol.
Which, of course, is really no different than anything else. Rarely is anything "just a thing".... there's usually a lot more to it.
When I say "LJ IDOL IS NOT JUST A WRITING COMPETITION", the emphasis is on the "Just". It's more. Depending on what you want to get out of it, the track record is pretty clear - it can be a *whole lot* more.
Of course, other people put the emphasis on the "NOT". Some look at "writing" and "Journal" in the word "Livejournal" and make their distinction there.
Or "Idol" and see nothing more than "American Idol".
I haven't heard anyone just concentrate on the word "a". But I'm sure they are out there. ;)
Ultimately, the system ends up working out, combining all of those elements (and more) and creating an experience unique and compelling enough to bring people back for years on end... with folks more or less getting what they wanted from it!
I have every confidence that things will continue in that way for this season as well.
That said - there are always those who get caught up in the "competition" angle. I won't lie, there are benefits to having them around - because it's rare when at least a few of the people they bring in don't end up becoming as addicted, and addicted (in the case of Idol) is a good thing. :)
But they also have to be careful. Because there has never been a time when someone didn't get caught up with "getting the vote out" and missed that there is a social element as well (because there is a social element to *pretty much everything* in life), one that can catch up to you sooner or later.
Encouraging voting is good. Nothing wrong with that at all. Discouraging people from coming out is really not in anyone's best interests.
Just make sure that you are balancing it with reminding people to read and comment on other people's entries as well. Responsible voting - and not just voting down the ballot "party line" style.
I know, you can't control what other people are going to do - there is no way to make them listen to you... if there was, I would be using it all the time! :)
But beating it into their heads is a useful option, when needed.
I say this quite often, and I always mean it - you get what you put into Idol. If it's negative energy, that never ends well. For anyone.
Speaking of writing and supporting people - there is a poll going on *right now*! http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/806700.html
So get on out there and spread the word, for people to (responsibly) support their favorites!