If there’s one person who embodies the 21st century, other than Barack Obama, it’s Justin Bieber. Go ahead, laugh it up. Similar to The Beatles and their representation of the British invasion and the social and cultural revolution in the 1960s, Justin Bieber represents social networking’s influence in the Age of the Internet. No, really.
Discovered on the video-sharing website YouTube, Bieber grew into a phenom (the music video for his song “Baby” owns the most views in the site’s history). And due to the connectivity and accessibility of YouTube, JB became the latest foreign import (Canada) to make it in America. After conquering the website that changed media consumption forever, the Biebz turned his domination towards Twitter, the internationally popular microblogging service. Not to mention, the use of Facebook within J-Biebs’ arsenal, but everyone uses Facebook now (even your parents and grandparents). With Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the world had become “smaller”– small enough to fit inside the petite-sized hands of the 16-year old Justin Bieber. According to Klout, a social-networking index, Justin has more social web influence than anyone else in the world, including Lady Gaga and Barack Obama.
In all actuality, Justin Bieber is probably just a fad in a long line of pop stars (Think Hanson more than The Beatles). Come to think of it, for a nation so opposed to gay rights, we sure do have a strange history of idolizing males with gay-friendly haircuts.
In February, the Bieber Fever will hit its pitch as he will be found capitalizing on another trend: the 3D movie. I have no desire or intention to see this movie, nor should you, unless you are a member of the clique of 13-year-old girls who are obsessed with my writing (like Bieber, dealing with the excesses of fame can be flattering). And this essay is in no way intended to persuade you to see the movie; It’s just important to look at Bieber for what he represents, be it fad or social media icon.
The real question: which forward-thinking college or university will have the audacity to teach a class on Bieber the way classes are already taught on Star Trek and The Simpsons? There has to be a college of business somewhere that will teach a Bieber class as a way to “effectively market your brand with social media”. Or, better yet, there has to be a sociology department somewhere willing to teach this class (Sociologists should love the whole white (Bieber) being subservient to his African-American handler (fellow pop star Usher) storyline; a reverse Blind Side, if you will).
Actually, this class could be taught to senior citizens offered by the local public library. They could use J-Biebs as a surrogate for a simplified view of the world. For my readers over 50, you would appreciate this as it would make this world easier to comprehend. Like the old convict/ librarian from The Shawshank Redemption, you probably think this world got itself into one big hurry and might find it difficult transitioning. Seeing the 21st century through the context of Justin Bieber should bring simplicity and clarity to your confusion and complexity.
Speaking of simplified views, don’t forget about the state of Texas as a possible place to encourage the teachings of Bieber. Their state Board of Education approved an “alternative” social studies curriculum just this past year. Although when they get around to writing about the 21st century, those God-fearin’, conservative-minded Texans probably won’t find time to include Justin Bieber’s historical importance in their “revised” textbooks. (Also they probably won’t find the space as the entirety of their time regarding the 21st century will be spent writing about Bush’s triumphant War on Terror and the golden child John Boehner (literally golden because of his tan) and his courageous and martyr-like fight at repealing health care.)
So, where does that leave us? Who do we trust? In this techno-crazed culture, we are surrounded in an aura, and era, of mystery. But as Justin Bieber confidently claims in his music, “Your world is my world”, we can rest assured someone out there gets “it”.