The world is a funny place, and often social media is a collection of humanity’s grotesqueries. Twitter has often been a great tool for the oppressed to deliver their perspective. It has, on many occasions, facilitated the arrival of democracy — especially in the North African nations.
Yesterday, pictures of Miley Cyrus’ new hairdo, including one showing her hair being cut, garnered the 19-year old a total of 100,000 retweets. That may not seem like a large number, but it doesn’t count in the number of favorites. The point in fact is that Miley is still as popular as ever, with followers closing in at eight million in the next few months for sure.
You know you made it in Western civilization when you tweet just the word “bliss” and get 7,984 retweets and 3,359 favorites. Yes, that’s the sign of success in today’s media-controlled society. A singer like Miley Cyrus, who has a net worth of $54 million, is no longer simply an artist expressing herself. She is in the business of conveying to her fans a falsified version of the American dream.
Any criticism, cynicism, and mocking notwithstanding, Miley Cyrus has very loyal fans. All her concerts are sold out, raking in millions for her growing empire. Indeed, she’s a trending girl, and not only in the US.
One pertinent question, though: How does this idolism work? Miley’s not the first to reach this coveted status. Many years before her came the Beatles, Queen, Elvis Presley, and others, who all had this effect on people. The sight of fainting women and screeching teens isn’t any novelty in the entertainment business. If Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ would have existed, these musical entities would have made good use of it as well, beyond any doubt.
Miley Cyrus successfully engages her fans in gossip, which helps build her brand. This new hairdo signifies change, meaning that even she grows up one day. This is something her fans are all-too-familiar with. Whether you’re a celebrity or not, all of us grow up, battling through puberty. People feel like someone out there is just like them, trying to make people see them for what they are. Themes of acceptance are a powerful bond between people. Don’t assume that even a Miley Cyrus doesn’t have to fight for acceptance.
Since the beginning of Twitter, it has been thoroughly argued how valuable 140 characters can be. For some people it may represent the difference between winning and losing. Yet for others it may simply be a vehicle to drive ego, like self-preservation. In either case, one single tweet has a personal impact. It’s wrong to condemn one and put another on a pedestal.
The meaning of social media, the whole society of sharing, has a very intricate connection with the human condition. From a philosophical standpoint, every tweet, shared post, and cat picture speaks volumes about what people want to see and read. All this is the content of the book, not just its cover. There is so much more content not apparently visible, though.
So maybe an explanation could be that the general public wants to feel it’s all right to be silly every once in a while. Besides, people love to voice their opinions, hoping to make someone care. Everyone is craving for attention in this rat race. Is that bad? No. We can just hope that most don’t take it too seriously.
Maybe also some young girl, somewhere in the world, finally has the strength to stand up for her own changes. We all had some idol when we were young. It might just not have been Miley Cyrus.
Photo via Miley Cyrus’ Twitter feed