Monday, April 20, 2009
'Suddenly Susan' & *social* mass media
If you aren't among the tens of millions of people who've already viewed Susan Boyle's performance on Britain's Got Talent (their American Idol-like talent show), give yourself a nearly 10-minute-long smile and watch her floor the judges and audience with her gorgeous rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. As of this writing, that recording on YouTube has been viewed nearly 34 million times (another version in the top 5 search results for Boyle has been viewed 9+ million times) and is on track to pass the 100 million mark, Mashable reports. More than 3,300 stories about Boyle in news outlets worldwide turned up today in a Google News search. Though this doesn't seem like the kind of story I usually blog about, it actually is: 1) Boyle sang for her mom. This was the first time she could sing since her mother's passing two years ago, The Times reports. 2) Those among her fans who've been bullied need to know that she has been too; she suffered mild brain damage as a baby, had learning disabilities in school, "became a target for bullies ... but found sanctuary in her [large] closeknit, religious family," the Times adds (and probably in her singing talent), all of which appears to have stood her in good stead as she faced visibly skeptical judges and audience members (don't miss watching the metamorphosis on all those faces). 3) Boyle's story is a brilliant example of the new mass media - *social* mass media, when all the online views, tweets, profile comments, blog posts, retweets, and talk show plugs, probably add up to "a bigger audience than the U.S. viewership of the Super Bowl," blogs Time media columnist James Poniewozik. "It also means that more of the power, and the influence over how those moments are received, falls to the excerpters and commentators who reproduce, repost and embed the videos." See also "Suddenly Susan: Singer's Town Is Agog," Washington Post UK correspondent Mary Jordan's online discussion with Post readers about her visit with the singer in her Blackburn, Scotland, home.