Bieber Fever Redlines

bieber2.JPGThis just in, ripped from the week’s headlines: “Justin Bieber is more influential than Barack Obama and Dalai Lama.”

Yeah, I had to question that statement at first, too. So let me qualify: It’s in terms of social media sway, according to the online media company, Klout.

Klout founder Joe Fernandez wanted a way to determine what’s worth reading on the Internet, saying it’s the impact of a person’s words that matter, not the number of Twitter or Facebook followers. So he created Klout, which is touted as the “standard of influence,” to tally the online power of individuals and companies. Fernandez reports that the business is taking off and says, “Every lobbyist in Washington is coming to us for data. They want to know who is driving opinion.”

Klout determines that Bieber is more powerful than President Obama and the Dalai Lama in terms of tweets, pings, Facebook likes, Google shout-outs and other social media activity. Bieber’s tweets, for example, are shared about 5 million times each. For a point of reference, Barack Obama’s tweets are retweeted only 250,000 times, on average.

Fernandez told the Guardian, “We are living in an attention economy. We have too much information coming at us. Who do we trust, whose links are we going to click?”

It’s those “attention economy” and “driving opinion” ideas that scare me. Clearly Bieber’s got much of the world’s attention—and their trust—and he’s certainly driving people.

The rest of the list is interesting (scary?), too. Joe Jonas is third with a score of 92, behind Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. Then it’s Kanye West (90.9), Dalai Lama (90.6), Nick Jonas (90.1) and Lady Gaga (86.9). Barack Obama is No. 11, with 88.5.

If Fernandez is right, do Klout’s findings mean that the United States will elect a pop-star President in the next 50 years? Or, at least, have Katy Perry (No. 18) as Secretary of State?

I sure hope not.

Who wrote this?

Meredith has had two careers: one as a writer/editor for both Focus on the Family and The Navigators, and one as an English teacher trekking far-flung corners of Europe, Africa and Asia. She now rejoins Focus, but with souvenirs—including new eyes with which to better view American culture.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.