In all honesty, I don't know what kind of ratings the Nielsen meter is handing out for BET these days. All I know is that I rarely contribute to those numbers and I usually don't give them more than an a few channel-surfing seconds. Until right about now. If you aren't an alien to the Twitterverse, you know that this is the time of year that fair-weather BET viewers, like myself, gather ‘round the tube to watch (and tweet) the spectacle that is the BET Awards.
It's what we did last year.
Lamenting over last year's Young Money performance of "Every Girl," featuring Lil Wayne and Drake for which 12-year-old girls strut around the stage. (The lyrics repeat: I wish I could f*ck every girl in the world.) Shaking our collective heads about the much anticipated Michael Jackson tribute, which, well … sucked.
We watched together - on Twitter - because many of us were still getting our feet wet with the Twitter Whale and we finally understood what all the hype was about. The second-by-second updates from both amateur and professional pop culture critics gave viewers something similar to an online watch party with the entire e-vite list in attendance. The witty, the unapologetically mean and the hilarious with no-harm-intended commentary on every piece of the coon-tastic action is what has Twit's everywhere RSVP'ing to be apart of it all again in 2010.
This year, the execs at BET made sure they'd be in on that Trending Topic action, by nominating insta-trend himself, 16-year-old Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist award. Seeing as how pop culture's wonder boy is not usually marketed to BET's routine demographic, I'm convinced that his presence or even the mention of his name at the ceremony is all ratings motivated. Yes for hits on Nielsen, but more importantly for hits on Twitter.
It makes sense, considering celebrities with a lot of followers on Twitter have started to refer to him as "Justin B" in their tweets to avoid launching him to Trending Topic #1 for the millionth time. And although we're right in the middle of the website's 15 seconds, its ability for fame-making can't be denied. The New York Times reported today that CBS will be creating a television show based on a popular Twitter account. So even though veterans to the Twitter game already know that award shows are the best time to tune into Twitter, with the addition of Twitter royalty "Justin B." to the lineup, this year's BET Awards will be the talk of the Twitterverse.
— JADA F. SMITH
is an intern at The Root and senior journalism major at Howard University.