Justin Bieber wouldn’t be Justin Bieber if it weren’t for YouTube.
The superstar’s meteoric rise was partly due to the online video service. He had the talent, of course, but uploading his music videos helped share it far and wide. He became a sensation quicker than most of his teen predecessors thanks to a web-based service.
Now, he isn’t so sure about another social media platform.
This week, Bieber slammed Instagram. Yes, it’s the same one he quit a few months back. He might rejoin it in 2017. For now, it’s the devil. Or so he says.
“Who thinks I should get my Instagram back?” he asked during a stop on his Purpose Tour at London’s O2 Arena.
“Nah, I don’t want to get my Instagram back… I’m sure,” he continued. Was he channeling the incoherent ramblings from fellow superstar Kanye West?
Bieber wasn’t done.
“I think hell is Instagram. I’m 90 percent sure. We get sent to hell, we get like locked in the Instagram server,” he said.
Later, he teased the crowd that he might keep taking selfies but not posting them. Say it isn’t so!
Welcome to pop superstardom at the tail end of 2016. Celebrities adore attention, so they flock to social media in droves. They hawk their products, share as much of their personal lives as they’re willing to share and watch their sales soar.
Later, they realize it’s a place where fans and critics alike can weigh in whenever they wish. Suddenly, seeing all those hearts attached to your scruffy selfie comes with a downside—the flurry of hate just for being famous.
It’s easy to mock celebrities and their love/hate relationships with social media. Heck, we’re doing it right here. Yet it’s hard to imagine the level of vitriol celebrities receive via that world wide web. Haters are gonna hate, and social media sites let them do so with alacrity.
Still, if you’re a superstar you simply must grow a thicker skin. Many celebrities have failed to do that. Alec Baldwin isn’t the only star to quit Twitter, return to the service and then leave again.
Part of 21st-century fame is learning how to deal with the public. Many stars, like Tom Hanks, gracefully navigate the digital culture without the occasional meltdown.
Bieber hasn’t quite mastered that art yet.
He’s young. Hopefully, he’ll realize there’s a balancing act between extending his brand on social media and understanding not everyone will receive his latest selfie with open arms.
Until then, he may truly believe Instagram is demonic.