Last night I went to the Justin Bieber concert in Madison Square Garden. (Yes, I am a Belieber.) The two nights in the Big Apple sold out in 30 seconds when tickets went on sale earlier this year, and his entire Believe tour sold out in just an hour. Pretty impressive for an eighteen-year-old. This is worth noting for two reasons.
The first is that Justin Bieber is the epitome of the social media era. He was discovered through YouTube back in 2009, which quickly spiraled into a billion-dollar, international career. The celebrity heartthrob embraces social media entirely – he runs his Twitter and Instagram accounts, still utilizes his same YouTube channel (username: kidrauhl) and constantly reaches out and engages with fans. When I first created my Twitter account I followed Justin, but eventually I had to unfollow him because of how many teenage girls declaring their love for him took over my feed. Even though there are plenty of people, including myself, who would rather not follow all of his social media updates, there are almost 31 million people that do. He has grown up with social media and is a complete rock star at it.
The second is that the Believe tour is just one example of how events, such as concerts, are taking advantage of social media. In the past 24 hours the designated hashtag, #BieberMSG, reached an audience of 1,750,777 Twitter followers, not even including night one of the concert series. The same hashtag also led to photos on Instagram, which has more than one thousand tagged photos. Justin Bieber’s official Facebook page had status updates with almost 90,000 likes for night one and about 60,000 for night two. The downside (or upside, depending on what you’re looking for out of the event) to Facebook for events like concerts is that it’s not as public as the other networks; just type in the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and you are immediately granted access to a real-time feed full of updates from other attendees.
Foursquare had a designated check-in for the event, enabling users to unlock an “MSG Concerts" badge if it was their first time there. All that were involved with the concert had active Twitter accounts -- @justinbieber, @TheGarden, @TheWanted and @carlyraejepsen were the main accounts. One thing was missing that really surprised me—the real-time feed of tweets that usually flow on the big screens in between acts. At other recent concerts I have noticed the promotion of the event’s hashtag accompanied by the constant flow of tweets of attendees, so I was surprised to see it missing from a singer who has noticeably taken advantage of social media.These are just some ways that social media has become an obvious integration into everyday events, including big ones like a Madison Square Garden concert. I’m looking forward to watching it grow and seeing how people start to take more advantage of social media to integrate with events---maybe next time a tweet will get me a backstage pass! Hey, never say never.