History may remember Paris attacks by one tweet from One Direction

Written on November 27, 2015 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Arts & Cultures & Societies

louis_tomlinson_tweet_explosionOne tweet from One Direction member Louis Tomlinson during the Paris attacks summarily proves the true impact of celebrity and the existence of the global connectivity so often espoused by the likes of Barack Obama, Bono and Mark Zuckerberg.

A new study by Western University’s CulturePlex Lab, led by Juan Luis Suárez, charted approximately 4.3 million tweets in the wake of the Paris attacks on November 13 and found that one tweeted by Tomlinson at 6:47 a.m. on November 14 was the most active and widely shared Twitter message related to the event with more than 173,000 retweets and 208,000 likes.

“There is a direct correlation represented here in regards to how people react to celebrity and how much impact celebrities truly have,” explains Suárez, a Digital Humanities professor in Western’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Director of the CulturePlex Lab. “This study shows how powerful you are if you are a super-connector. Companies are using super-connectors for marketing, political parties are using them for campaigns and we show here that pop culture and celebrity are an immediate gateway to these types of events worldwide.”

Suárez says that super-connectors like Tomlinson, who has 20.7 million Twitter followers (and counting), have an unbelievable amount of power to persuade when you consider that they generate immediate reaction from thousands if not millions of people.

“If you expand that to marketing, commerce, politics and other areas of influence – if you understand how it works, it can be a very powerful tool for good and for bad, as we have seen with the ISIS problem,” explains Suárez. “An investigation like this also shows how connected we are globally. That’s very important. We hear a lot about our connectivity in the media and in research, but now we are starting to see the effects. It shows us that knowledge and information transfer immediately around the globe.”

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