Justin Bieber: The fever that won't quit
I'm not sure any other celebrity -- especially one born the year I graduated from college or not named "Elvis" -- has spawned as many Internet memes as 16-year-old wunderkind Justin Bieber.
Kanye West came close in the wake of his September 2009 VMA Awards stage siege -- you remember, when he dissed Taylor Swift, defended Beyonce and inspired a flurry of "interrupting Kanye" Web sites and viral vids all riffing on his "I'mma let you finish" speech. Well, sorry Kanye, but that (while fun) was a flash in the pan compared to the range of Bieber-inspired sites that have been propagated in the past six months or so.
In fact, over the past several months, Bieber's Web footprint (not to be confused with a webbed footprint) has grown from the typical -- his own early YouTube clips, Wikipedia entry, official site, a smattering of fan pages -- into full-blown phenomenon. A little research at Google Trends reveals that, at least as far as searches go, Bieber's popularity has grown from a mere blip at the beginning of January 2009 to today's current levels, which now outpace searches on "Kanye West" by two to one and "Twilight" heartthrob "Robert Pattinson" by more than six to one. And, to use an old Beatles comparison, Bieber is totally beating "Jesus" in the search game, too.
The interesting thing -- at least to someone like me who Just. Doesn't. Get. It. -- isn't the proliferation of gushy, pic-heavy fan sites, but the off-the-wall apps, viral vids and quizzes inspired by Bieber and forwarded around by, yep, me and all the other people who Just. Don't. Get. It.
The handy Shaved Bieber Firefox add-on which allows the user to basically wipe all traces of the coiffed one from Web pages.
The Justin Bieber walks into a glass door video which, when it hit the net a few weeks back, inspired a viral flurry and racked up more than 1.3 million pageviews.
The How Many Justin Biebers Could You Take in a Fight quiz, which -- as advertised -- calculates how many Biebers one could potentially best in hand-to-hand combat. My score: 23 Biebers. I kick butt.
And, now, the baldly-named "What Would You Do to Get with Justin Bieber," which asks readers to submit Twitter-sized declarations of passion then allows other users to rate each entry as sweet/creepy/desperate/lamest. Some are obviously more serious than others. A quick selection gathered this morning (my comments in parens):
I would kiss him like a billion times. (mostly sweet)
i would love Justin through whatever if he went bald was chubby and lost all his money/ fame i would still love him for who he is :D (creepy, not surprisingly)
Honestly and truely, i would do alot for him but somethings are overboard i wouldnt stalk him force him black mail him or do anything to hurt him i would always tell the truth to him no matter how hard it is be ok with anything he says if he's happy im happy if he's sad im sad if he's mad im mad only thing is that he never lies to me (sweet as per visitors to the site, but kind of delusional if you ask me)
I get Bieber's appeal for teeny-boppers, as evinced by the above messages and ably explained by The Post's Chris Richards. But I'm not sure his G-rated good looks and pop savvy explain why the kid is such an Internet phenomenon. Maybe you can do better? Please try below. I'm all ears...
| June 8, 2010; 12:09 PM ET
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