What Justin Bieber and other social media stars can teach us


The first-ever Social Star Awards were handed out in Singapore on in May at Marina Bay Sands, and I was present to witness the event.

The live Social Star Awards served as the pinnacle to 24 hours of virtual awards given to stars from around the world who were recognised for their popularity in the world of social media.

You can watch the full show here on YouYube if you missed the live broadcast.

Singapore Press Holdings played a role in this inaugural global event. The Straits Times is the official Singapore media partner for the event, while Hot FM 91.3 is the official radio station and Kiss 92FM, the supporting radio station.

The Social Star Awards are based on data from global popularity leaderboard, Starcount, which uniquely aggregates and charts social media’s most popular stars and celebrities through the measurement of 1.7 billion people’s social media activity on the 11 biggest social media networks in the world.

Starcount ranks and charts fans based on their individual social behaviour by awarding points for every tweet, share, view, and comment about the individual stars they love. In other words, all that matters to win a Social Star Award is your number of fans and followers on social media, as well as the level of support they gush over you on social media.

Among the top winners for the first Social Star Awards are One Direction, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber, just to name a few.

What was glaringly obvious was celebrities with the youngest fans dominating all the awards.

There were many big name celebrities, such as rock legends Aerosmith and worldwide pop sensation PSY (right), of “Gangnam Style” fame, gracing the red carpet and performing on the awards night.

Interestingly, there also were many Internet sensations, who get as much applause and cheers from the young crowd. They are able to hold up on their own.

How many of these Internet sensations do you know? Hikakin, Ryan Higa, PewDiePie, and Overly Attached Girlfriend (OAG) were just a few who showed up.

OAG refers to a young lady name Maria Laina. You might not instantly recall who she is, but you will know who she is once you see the picture of her above: Laina is one of the most recognisable faces on the Internet, thanks to her videos and countless memes of her pictures. She has more than a half-million subscribers and 76 million views on YouTube.

How many publishers are there out there with half a million subscribers? Be afraid, be very afraid.

We are not even talking about the king of social media, Justin Bieber, who was crowned with the “Almighty Award.”

Bieber has more than 40 million followers on Twitter and in 2012 was named the third most-powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes magazine. If you take away anyone over the age of 20, I am sure Bieber will be the most powerful celebrity in the world.

Do you know any publication with a readership of 40 million?

According to a Twitter employee, Bieber alone accounted for a whopping 3% of all traffic on Twitter, and “racks of servers are dedicated” to Bieber alone. His Twitter account (@justinbieber) is the most popular celebrity account in the world and it is still growing at a rate of one new follower every second!

I see the results of the Social Stars Award as crystal-ball-gazing into the future. Bieber fans are growing up, and this is the audience publishers need to reach out to.

How? I do not have the answer. I know we just have to get into the social media game.

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