To steal a line from Lost: There’s a war coming.
I was hoping to spend this week’s column talking about some hot new Pitchfork band, because I’m a solid week behind on the news and failed to realize that Pitchfork happened two weekends ago, and not this past weekend. I’d also be happy to talk about nu-metal again. Or Eminem—he’s fun. That is not going to happen, because this Monday, the hashtag world is being dominated by five very unsettling hashtags. In order of reverse magnitude, as of 10 pm on Monday, according to the fine robots at wthashtag.com:
#6millionbritbitches (6,095 tweets by 606 contributors)
#6millionbritfans (6,414 tweets by 788 contributors)
#5millionmonsters (8,205 tweets by 3,131 contributors)
#britneyvma2010 (13,666 tweets by 1,036 contributors)
#4millionbeliebers (21,009 tweets by 8,186 contributors)
Obviously, something is up: There is hostility buried in these hashtags, and pathos and hubris and pretension. Mix in some natural resources and global politics and you’d have all the ingredients for a sloppy war soup.
Here’s the timeline of events. Justin Bieber is the genesis of so many wonderful things on the internet, including this escalating hashtag rivalry. Nearly 4 million people follow his verified Twitter account (3,959,118 at time of writing), and his completely crazy teen-girl fanbase is prematurely celebrating that monumental achievement. There is a joke in here about “premature” that is just out of my reach, and that’s probably good because it is either crass or completely dumb or both. Also, these people call themselves Beliebers as, like, a badge of honor, and that fact is sort of buzzing around in my brain and making me question everything I thought I knew about humor.
As a response to the swell of Bieber tagging, the fans of two other pop stars apparently decided to hype their preferred Tweeting sensations. First up, Lady Gaga, who refers to her fans (on her verified Twitter account and elsewhere) as her “little monsters.” Unlike the Biebermeister, Gaga does actually have as many followers as her hashtag claims: As of 10 pm Monday, she was at 5,117,634 followers. Probably because her Twitter background involves her wearing a metallic bikini with sparks flying from her boobs and crotch, but possibly because of her musical ingenuity, I suppose.
Then we’ve got #6millionbritfans and #6millionbritbitches: Both are referring to what you’d think would be Britney Spears’s 6 million Twitter followers. Brit is nearly 600,000 followers shy of 6 million, though, so this celebration seems maybe delusional instead of just premature. Perhaps if her followers could decide whether they are “fans” or “bitches,” they could present a unified front in this battle and push through to the 6 million mark? Brit lovers do seem to be unified in their desire to see Ms. Spears perform at the 2010 Video Music Awards in September, hence #britneyvma2010.
Who will win this hashtag war? The Bieber fans have enthusiasm, sure, but they’re counting their followers before they, er, hatch. Britney’s fans seem a bit deluded, but they’ve got a common cause: Getting their girl onto the VMAs. Lady Gaga seems like the likeliest winner of ANY war, to me—I have to think that someone with a machine-gun bra who models her revenge-fantasy videos on Tarantino movies and death metal videos has a bit of an edge in at least the munitions department.
Role #mmodel: “@justinbieber: I love girls…and today was a really great day.” …that pretty much sums things up.
My #musicmonday pick: If you follow me on Twitter (come on over! I’m @alnotally), you’ve already seen me pushing Ezra Furman and the Harpoons, “The Faceless Boy.”