At Sunday evening's MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus
acheived new social media highs -- or lows, depending upon your
perspective -- with a racy performance of hit
We Can't Stop
By twerking, committing a near-sexual assault with a foam finger,
and sticking out her tongue, Miley, with the help of Robin
Thicke, got the Twitsosphere cranking along at 306,100 tweets per
minute, surpassing the activity seen during last year's Super
Bowl blackout and besting all other VMA acts, including Lady Gaga
and a reunited 'N Sync.
The reason this statistic is interesting is because in the
days of old media, it wasn't easy to quantify the impact of major
world events in terms of conversation, in real time.
If a topic is trending on Twitter -- as is #Syria and
#ReplaceASongNameWithTwerk (the latter is a reference to Miley)
as I write this article -- then people are most definitely
talking about it:
But what does it say about us as a society that the big topic in
entertainment this week is still young Ms. Cyrus?:
First, we haven't changed much.
We love celebrity train wrecks as much as we always have because
they give us an opportunity to get on our moral high horses and
use other people's screw-ups to imply our own virtue.
You know, because none of us have ever cheated, gotten high, made
an offensive comment, become violent, or had a mental-health
Am I defending Miley?
No, and I am not attacking her, either.
What I am trying to emphasize is this: The fact that Miley
quickly became the focus of conversation is a great example of
the positive side of social media.
), Twitter, and countless blogs, people expressed their opinions
and learned how their peers felt about a news event that perhaps
is metaphorical for bigger issues in society, like the supposed
hypersexualization of pop culture and glamour of drug use.
People talking to their kids about standards of behavior, and
thinking about the appropriateness of various types of media is
far more productive than LOLing over
the latest meme
At the end of the day, Miley does come out on top here because
attention is currency and sex can be a good marketing weapon,
something I'm sure she's aware of as her upcoming album is called
, which she pushed in this Tweet:
Score one for Miley's marketing team -- even I'm talking about
, Miley is closely tracking sales for everyone:
So while the world is hooting and hollering, Miley is making out
) is also likely very happy as TV ratings for the VMAs were up
66% year-over-year, and are likely to increase further next year
-- because you know Miley's going to be back, and you know we'll
all be watching.