It’s not really surprising that my tween/teen daughters are into social media, is it? They’ve been watching me tweet for over 6 years and know their way around a smart phone. They like to talk out loud in a mash-up of text abbreviations & hashtags.
“LOL. JK. #Awkard.”
Both of my girls have instagram accounts and follow a number of hashtags there. I monitor their use and they occasionally share their feeds with me as well. The night before last, my 16-year-old brought some images to my attention: #Cut4Bieber.
The official story of the hashtag was this: kids were cutting themselves in response to the Biebs getting busted for smoking marijuana. Somehow this act was supposed to show Justin how much his hurting himself, hurt his fans. Or something like that. I have a hard time following the logic, understanding why this makes sense, on an emotional or rational level.
Clearly many of the photos were faked.
By midday there were also many spoofs. Someone took a pic of Willy Wonka with the caption “You’re cutting yourself because Justin Bieber smokes weed? Good thing you’re not a Bob Marley fan.” Another person posted a link to a photo series where someone used ketchup to fake a post, and then went on to slather mayo and add bread and fixings to create an arm sandwich.
My older daughter is a Bieber fan and follows a lot of other fans. She was disturbed by all the bloody pix in her stream real or not real, using the #Cut4Bieber hashtag. Although most were clearly fake, a few, she worried, were not.
So I started a twitter hashtag report on the tag, curious to learn more about what was trending.
In under 24 hours there were over 30,000 messages with the hashtag. As of this am, the reach of this tag is cited at over 23 million impressions. Impressive. Stupid.
It’s too much to really read through but I checked out some of the top links. There were the predictable other celebrity responses (Miley Cyrus and Paris Jackson lead the charge) and several funny graphic reactions and spoof images like the ones above.
There were also reactions from mental health professionals urging kids not to cut themselves, and to seek help. Thank goodness for that. It appears we are not all going to hell in a handbasket after all.
It’s a weird weird world we are raising our kids in. Sometimes it takes tracking a hashtag to see just how weird, and some tween/teenagers to try and explain the logic. They had a hard time with this one too, though they didn’t seem to find it as disturbing as me. Could this be a sign I am getting old?
My 12 yr old explains it like this:
“So Justin Bieber was smoking pot and people are so sad that he is such a bad person, they are cutting themselves. It’s like their whole life is a lie. I don’t think anyone actually did it though. Nobody I know did it.”
My 16 yr old had this to say:
What is wrong with people? Do they think Bieber cares? Like he’s not gonna smoke pot now? Hey… do you think that’s ketchup or barbecue sauce? LOL. JK. #Awkward.