Miley Cyrus Fans, Chill Out: An Etiquette Guide for Extreme Twitter Fandom
Thursday, when Miley Cyrus' emotional hit "Wrecking Ball" was ousted from its No. 1 spot on the iTunes charts by 16-year-old Lorde's fantastic anti-greed anthem "Royals," most normal people reacted with some form of completely understandable surprise. Lorde is not only barely old enough to drive, she's also something of an indie artist and she's just beat out the biggest name in pop music (and possibly pop culture) at the moment. This is huge.
Some fans, however, were so enraged with the fact that iTunes managed to correctly measure the sales of each single that they lashed out at the young singer who topped Cyrus with death threats and commentary I wouldn't wish on my least favorite Jonas Brother (Joe, Taylor told us what you did to her). While they should really have been cursing math for its ever-present knack for being irrefutably correct, Lorde withstood a barrage of social media abuse including multiple users who told her to "overdose on AIDS medicines" and one who said he'd "STAB UR ROTTING CORPSE," and all because she's really, really good at making music.
Cyrus eventually chimed in on her official Twitter, telling Lorde "why r people so mean??? Ps your music is awesome." This, of course, continued to anger Miley's most stalwart fans, who seem to believe that violence is the answer whenever numbers don't line up with their alternate versions of reality.
So, here's the thing, Mega-Miley fans (and other dedicated pop star aficionados): I've got some advice for you because I know what it's like to love a singer so much it feels like your affection could literally burst through your skin at any moment. When I was 13, the walls of my humble bedroom were plastered, floor-to-ceiling with Justin Timberlake's face and a few requisite *NSYNC group shots. I understand how deep your love of Miley runs, because even at age 26, when my favorite boy band reunited on the VMAs, my long-dormant dragon of overzealous appreciation lurched back to life, shortened my breath, and made my feet dance uncontrollably while my roommates watched, completely helpless to stop it.
That love runs deep. And while I didn't have Twitter when in the throes of fandom (and thus had no way to publicly shame and threaten *NSYNC's competitors other than MySpace, which didn't really work that way), I knew that super-fandom was a game of deep adoration, and not one of hate. I even felt obligated to applaud that jean-tastic couples outfit Timberlake wore with Britney Spears when she was dashing my dreams of mine and Timberlake's future Tennessee wedding.
Here's how to temper your unbridled love for your favorite pop star without making yourself out to be a dreaded Twitter twit:
"YOU'RE UGLY" IS NOT A REASON TO HATE SOMEONE
Ah, yes. Behold the sophisticated discourse of Miley Cyrus Fans Against Lorde Because They Think She's Ugly (the acronym should be M.C.F.A.L.B.T.T.S.U. but I'm going to shorten it to J.E.R.K.S. because it's shorter).
Kids, we have to combat enough of our own demons about appearance with gorgeous, impossibly fit men and women plastered on practically every website, billboard, magazine, and locker decal. When you perpetuate hate for being "ugly," you're promoting the idea that beauty is the only trait worth something. And the really terrible thing is that when dealing in grade school insults, they wrap back around ala "I'm rubber, you're glue." With cheap shots like this, everyone gets hurt.
STOP BEING SO VIOLENT
The sad thing is that these Miley fans aren't the worst ones. Sure, they threw out some threatening tweets, but it's nothing compared to what other fans have done. Justin Bieber fans threatened to kill Selena Gomez after a public kiss. One fan even threatened to break her dog's neck as a ploy to get One Direction to follow her on Twitter. I'm going to say that again because I still don't understand A) The appeal of a Twitter follow, when it does not actually equate to friendship, B) Why a dog is made to answer for this person's deep emotional issues, and C) How a brain, any brain, leads a person to this conclusion.
Is it any wonder that when the #cuttingforbieber hashtag arose, supposedly encouraging fans to cut themselves until Justin Bieber stopped smoking pot, we believed the horrifying story immediately?
Fans, if your love ever feels this dire, put down the music and walk away. Nothing is worth this reaction. Ever. (And parents, where the hell are you guys?)
REALIZE YOUR ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES
Twitter, in case you weren't aware, is not a vacuum. It's a very, very public record of your thoughts, actions, and ideas. It's a gift to the NSA, the police, and that friend you lied to about your Friday night plans. It's so public, that everything you say on Twitter is being cataloged by the Library of Congress. Think about that before you write your next tweet threatening to stab someone for selling some iTunes downloads.
Plus, depending on the laws in your country, you could even end up in handcuffs for your tweets, like one British citizen who sent tweets about Olympic swimmer Tom Daley's dead father, causing the authorities to deem them "malicious communications."
The bottom line is: We can see you. Everyone can see you. Your future employers can see you. Your family can see you. So knock it off.
IF YOU'RE REALLY UPSET, DO SOMETHING POSITIVE
This doesn't really apply when your gripe is that Justin Bieber has a girlfriend (that's just called reality, darlings), but when something as simple as an iTunes chart battle rustles your way-to-easy-to-rustle feathers, why don't you hop on iTunes are buy up some more downloads of "Wrecking Ball"? Duplicate sales don't count when they come from the same account, so you're going to have to open multiple iTunes accounts and maybe borrow your friend's computer and your mom's computer and your neighbor's computer, but look, an elaborate scheme in which your over-the-top affection earns more money for the star you love so much is a hell of a lot better than sending a 140-character death threat.
FINALLY, CHILL. SERIOUSLY.
When all else fails, take a chill pill and listen to Miley Cyrus, the person you love so much:
[Image (GIF): Tumblr]