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The day Justin Bieber RTed @Channel24

2013-05-14 15:13
Oh yes, you bet we are still making a big deal about this!

On Thursday, 9 May – the day after Justin Bieber performed for the first time in SA at the Cape Town Stadium – I posted an innocent little tweet asking Beliebers who were there to tweet us their pics from the concert, along with a link to the Channel24 gallery of the sold-out show.

And just a couple of hours later, as I was still gushing excitedly to colleagues and anyone within earshot of the surprisingly enjoyable Bieber Experience I had the night before, I did a comical double-take as my phone informed me that "@justinbieber retweeted this:

And then the @Channel24 Twitter account exploded with retweets (RTs) and replies from passionate Beliebers not just in South Africa – but AROUND THE WORLD!

At the click of a button, Justin Bieber (or perhaps his manager Scooter Braun) had connected us to his nearly 40 million followers on Twitter and the significance of the moment was not lost on us as messages of love, support and marriage proposals were directed via Channel24 to Justin himself.

And, best of all, they heeded our call and sent us some amazing photos of their view of the concert!

To be honest, it felt pretty fantastic. While I wouldn't quite call myself a fan (I was only familiar with the radio hits ahead of the concert) I developed a grudging respect for the Canadian teenager after watching his 3D movie Never Say Never in 2011 – but the undying love and hysteria he elicits from his army of Beliebers must be frightening at times.

We at Channel24 have been getting a small taste of it ourselves this past week and I can't imagine what it must be like to actually be him – a young, global superstar who elicits equal measure devotion and loathing and still gets on with his job, bringing a piece of himself to his fans everywhere.

Those scenes of hysterical fans keeping vigil from outside his hotel in Cape Town and queuing up for hours before his concert was due to start is just a fraction of the lengths his fans will go to to feel close to him. Twitter gives them a better opportunity than most to be 'seen' by him - and being on the receiving end of that acknowledgment was a bit of a rush!

Of course, it hasn't been plain sailing for Justin on his Believe tour, and Cape Town was no exception after reports from staff at the One&Only Hotel that he'd crashed a hotel golf cart after playing bumper cars in the parking lot one night.

It's easy to forget that Justin does not have a anywhere near normal life. That he hasn't already become a recluse is a minor miracle.

And hosting his crazy train of abnormality in SA this past week has been endlessly fascinating. The positive energy his presence has generated among SA fans - and their parents - has been so pleasing to witness that all the resultant backlash and hate-spewing has been quite easy to drown out.

Perhaps I've learned something from Justin Bieber after all.

- Shaheema

* If you haven't yet, be sure to follow @Channel24 on Twitter and on Facebook for the latest news updates, pics and more!


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