Opposite Ends of the Twitter Spectrum

While my post about government yesterday was inspired mostly by the Twitter Townhall that occurred today, I decided to take a deeper look into Twitter, since its power and influence is surely expanding.  Specifically, I decided to analyze the difference between the two most followed people on Twitter: Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.  Though I’m sure it’s been done before, I wanted to take a stab at it (albeit, a very basic and somewhat shallow analysis).  While both have sold millions of records and singles with their catchy (but seemingly distinct) pop music, their followers on Twitter couldn’t be more different. 

Let’s first look at the queen: Lady Gaga, who currently has 11,442,737 followers, more than anyone else on the planet.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past year, you are well aware that Gaga’s mantra is assuring her fans that they were “Born this way.”  She urges her fans to be themselves and to dress and act however they want because they are beautiful in their own way.  She constantly tweets at them, telling them how much she adores them.  They turn to her for a sense of comfort, a boost of confidence, and constant, unwavering reassurance.  Essentially, Gaga is all about substance, the interior, the message.  Sure she tweets about her music and her products, but any smart business woman would seeing as selling a product is the most basic purpose for engaging in social media as a brand.  What she does instead that sets her apart is that she promotes a message to her Little Monsters, all of whom buy into her belief system and culture.  She has set up a united community, a religion of sorts, based around acceptance, love, and compassion.  Her followers look up to her as a leader for the ideologies and doctrines she professes in her music, at her concerts, and in her tweets.

This is the complete opposite of Bieber, who has 10,833,811 followers, second only to Gaga and right ahead of President Obama.  Bieber is all about the exterior.  His fans buy into his image.  To say fans don’t buy into Gaga’s image would be stupid, considering she makes headlines daily for her “image,” but it’s a different kind.  Of course people love his music, but one of his main draws is his looks.  His followers are infatuated with him.  After all, he is the modern day version of The Beatles, *NSYNC, and Backstreet Boys.   His fans find him dreamy, and fixate over his every move.  Thus, you get a very superficial understanding of Bieber through his tweets.  In other words, you don’t get an idea of what he stands for, etc.  Heck, just look at the outrage over the Rolling Stone article where he was asked about abortion and politics.  When you “follow” Justin Bieber, you are following little more than a poster of the heartthrob.  It’s similar to a little freshman girl who sits at the lunch table right next to the prom king, excitedly eavesdropping on him while he quotes his favorite movies, talks about what he did this weekend, what party he’s going to the next weekend, and expresses his love for his teammates and girlfriend.  His followers are smitten with puppy love and have developed a crush that borders on obsessive (have you seen the tweets targeted at Selena Gomez and Esperanza Spalding?).

If you need any more convicing, look at the tweets.  Lady Gaga was tweeting constantly during the New York legalization of same sex marriage and proclaimed that the final verdict brought her to tears.  On the other hand, Justin Bieber recently tweeted about watching UFC with his dad.  Though this may be too broad of a generalization, Little Monsters are a community who buy into a person for their opinions, while Bel-iebers buy into the romanticism of the person itself.  It’s safe to say that Gaga is a little more revolutionary in her use of her social media power, while Bieber is simply expanding on his role and power as a teenage heartthrob.  Either way, the way they communicate with their fans is both innovative and incredibly effective.  Even though they stand on opposite ends of the Twitter spectrum, both have mastered the intricacies and proper etiquette of social media, and other famous tweeters wanting to make an impact should certainly take note.