How to microblog out of a macro catastrophe

In a recent online poll by, the public was asked where they would most like popstar, Justin Bieber, to tour. The public said North Korea. When ‘the public’ cast its vote on July 7th, it was, however, predominantly made up of fans of the online bulletin board,, which encouraged visitors to hijack the poll and manipulate the results.

Given that is currently running a new poll entitled ‘‘Justin Bieber Loves Animals’’ it looks as though the site’s intentions have always been sardonic rather than sales-driven. And given that members delighted at the thought of sending Bieber to the ‘axis of evil’ this again looks unlikely to be a PR ploy.

This is the latest in a series of online attacks against Bieber – BBC News online reports that also recently encouraged visitors to search for ‘Justin Bieber Syphilis’, sending the search term up to the top of the ranks of Google Trend’s Hot Searches list. Bieber is also dead, apparently. Read the full article here –

Bieber’s record label, Universal, has denied any involvement in the poll, calling the whole thing a hoax. Even the most guerrilla of campaigns will avoid associating clients with animals, STD’s, communism and/or death, so by process of elimination we can assume the conversations were not sparked by the Bieber marketing camp, but by a cult of Bieber-haters ready to topple the pop prince. The joke, however, is on them, because all they’ve done is give him a leg up.

Team Bieber was quick to react to the attacks, reinforcing his social media presence and ensuring he had a steady stream of tweets going out to fans both responding to the attacks – “let’s take some time to answer some crazy rumors….these are always fun.…” – and thanking them for their support – “I like answering all your questions. Thank u all for caring. Just want u to know I care to and I’m just a normal kid [sic.]”

By July 16th Mashable reported that Justin Bieber was battling with Lada Gaga for the YouTube top spot – his video for “Baby ft. Ludacris” having captured 245,746,720 views. By maintaining a strong microblogging presence and openly responding to the attacks, Bieber has successfully managed to convert what could be career-damaging sentiment into one of the most viewed online videos of all time.

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