Social Media Matters: Are distraught Bieber fans hurting themselves?

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Metro section

Are distraught Bieber fans hurting themselves?

Photos allegedly showing pop star Justin Bieber smoking marijuana surfaced online several days ago. Some of his most ardent (or should I say “obsessed”) fans were so upset that reports claim that many jumped on a trend started by troll pranksters called “Cutting for Bieber” that urged his fans to cut themselves to shame him into stopping the practice.

Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber

The issue got so out of hand that Bieber took to Twitter to ask for his fans’ forgiveness. His PR team knows a potential disaster when they see it.

Some obsessed fans reportedly posted graphic photos of themselves surrounded by razor blades, slashed wrists and blood. It has not yet been determined whether the photos are real, however I would hazard a guess at least some of them were. I looked through the posts under the Twitter hashtag #cut4bieber and the ones I saw were obviously fake or parodies. (The only blood I saw was ketchup — and the only things being “cut” were toenails, paper, bananas and lawns.) Earlier versions may have been more graphic (and real) before word got around to some of his more naïve fans that the campaign was all a sick joke started by anonymous pranksters.

Every celebrity has fans that go too far — and many of Bieber’s fans are too young to rationalize that the Cutting for Bieber campaign was just a horrible prank.

More top websites

Every week, I take a look at the top 10 sites in categories among Alexa.com’s website rankings. This week, we look at food-related websites and websites in the anomalies and alternative science category.

CornucopiaTop 10 food-related websites: 1) Open Table (online reservation network for fine U.S. restaurants); 2) Restaurant.com (connects restaurants and diners through gift certificates and coupons); 3) Food & Wine Online (recipes, menus, reviews, articles); 4) Wine-Searcher (searchable database of wine merchant lists); 5) GrubHub (food delivery, menu and online ordering guide for San Francisco, Boston and Chicago); 6) Zagat (restaurant guide); 7) Beer Advocate (guide to beer, breweries and brewpubs); 8) Sapporo (brands, company profile, distributors and brewery technical information); 9) RateBeer (personal numerical beer ratings and forum); 10) Hershey’s (Hershey’s brand chocolate website).

BigfootThe 10 websites regarding anomalies and alternative science: 1) The Interactive On-line Encyclopaedia of the Unexplained (UFOs, crop circles, ghosts, etc.); 2) Unknowncountry (daily news); 3) Educate-Yourself.org (alternative healing therapies); 4) ViewZone (new age news website); 5) Earthfiles (environmental anomalies); 6) Fortean Times (online version of print magazine on strange phenomena); 7) Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (scientific research organization exploring the bigfoot/sasquatch mystery); 8) HAARP Home Page (official website of High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program); 9) Cryptomundo (blog about “bigfoot and friends”); 10) TalkOrigins Archive (collection of articles and essays from the Usenet newsgroup devoted to the discussion and debate of biological and physical origins).

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to Jan. 8. Have a favourite YouTube channel? Let me know and I may feature it here.

1) Super Mario Bros. U Channel (3,595 subscribers): Nintendo launched this channel in December “for New Super Mario Bros. U gameplay videos. Check back frequently for tips, tricks, and Super Play runthroughs!” I’ve never been much of a gamer, but this is pretty much the only one I’ve ever played at my brother’s place years ago. If you were one of the lucky ones to receive the Wii U for Christmas and are a fan of the classic game, this is a channel you may want to check out! The channel launched on Dec. 2 and already has more than 150,000 total video views. (Most popular video: New Super Mario Bros. U — Flying-Squirrel Super Play in Acorn Plains Way — 28,932 views.)

2) Global Cycling Network (5,910 subscribers): If couch-potato’ing it playing Super Mario Bros. U isn’t going to do it for you this winter, then dream of springtime and catch up on some cycling action on this new channel started last July. According to its channel description, “The Global Cycling Network (GCN) puts you in the centre of the action: from the iconic summit of the Stelvio to the epic trails of Fort William, Scotland, everywhere there is pave or dirt, world-class racing, and pro cyclists. GCN is a new global cycling channel dedicated to bringing you all the action, essential analysis and unparalleled access from the worlds of road and mountain biking every week, every month, and every year.” (Most popular video: GCN – The Global Cycling Network – Coming Soon — 16,710 views.)

3) The Muppets (231,607 subscribers): Everyone loves The Muppets, who debuted way back in 1955. Today, they’re as popular as ever. In fact, the feature song from their latest movie even won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (“Man or Muppet”) in 2012. Their YouTube channel hosts a number of playlists that have accumulated more than 111 million views. Playlists include: Compiled Criticisms, Slightly Sketchy, Kermit’s Party and Mostly Music, to name a few. (Most popular video: The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody — 29,593,335 views.)

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