Oh God. We're stuck with her.
I'm really sorry to say this, but Rebecca Black -- the 13-year-old "singer" suddenly famous for a teeth-gratingly bad vanity music video for the brain-numbingly awful song "Friday" -- takes the top spot in our weekly Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter chart, produced, as always, with our editorial partner What the Trend. She was in the No. 2 spot last week. Anytime I checked Twitter's Trending Topics list this week, day or night, she was there. She's there right now (gah!) on Friday morning as I write this. Since the Trending Topics list reflects topics that are surging, rather than topics that are continuously popular, that means interest in Rebecca Black has actually been accelerating.
What the hell? How can this be? Well, essentially she's shifted from being an internet meme ("Friday" is up to 47 million views on YouTube) to a mainstream-media addiction. Last Friday, right after Black appeared on "Good Morning America," her "Friday" had a mere 16 million views on YouTube. That afternoon, Entertainment Weekly posted an interview with Simon Cowell in which he declared, "Love it! ... The fact that [Black's song] is making people so angry is brilliant." Sunday night, the Jonas Brothers briefly covered "Friday" at a benefit concert in L.A. On Monday, Conan O' Brien expressed his anger at Black for ripping off his much better song "Thursday." Black's Tuesday appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" sparked a whole new webtroversy because she appeared to be lip-syncing.
Even Lady Gaga chimed in on the Black Plague as part of an on-stage Musicians@Google interview at the Googleplex ("I say Rebecca Black is a genius and anyone that's telling her she's cheesy is full of shit").
So please, blame all of those people -- but don't forget to also blame novelist Dana Vachon, whose epic, must-read essay "Arms So Freezy: Rebecca Black's 'Friday' As Radical Text," posted on the literary website The Awl on Wednesday, is sort of Film School Thesis Statement Generator writ large. I'll leave you with a brief taste of his expert deconstruction of Black's music video (my colleague Matthew Creamer presents an alternate excerpt here):
She offers the camera a hostage's smile, forced, false. Her smoky eyes suggest chaos witnessed: tear gas, rock missiles and gasoline flames. They paint her as a refugee of a teen culture whose capacity for real subversion was bludgeoned away somewhere between the atrocities of Kent State and those of the 1968 Democratic Convention, the start of a creeping zombification that would see youthful dissent packaged and sold alongside Pez and Doritos.
"Look and listen deeply," she challenges. An onanistic recursion, at once Siren and Cassandra, she heralds a new chapter in the Homeric tradition. With a slight grin, she calls out to us: "I sing of the death of the individual, the dire plight of free will and the awful barricades daily built inside the minds of all who endure what lately passes for American life. And here I shall tell you of what I have done in order to feel alive again."
How is this chart made? See Notes, below.
|1||Rebecca Black||4||14,583||Rebecca Black is a 13-year-old singer from Orange County, California with a music video, "Friday," on YouTube that many people find amusing or annoying. Her video has been viewed 47 million times.|
|2||#100FactsAboutMe||3||10,830||Twitter users are disclosing "facts" about themselves.|
|3||#ThreeWordsToLiveBy||2||4,375||People are sharing three words they live by.|
|4||Full Moon||2||3,594||Dubbed the "Supermoon," last Saturday's full moon appeared 14% bigger and up to 30% brighter than normal.
Subtrends include: #supermoon, Lincoln Memorial
|5||#ICantDateAGirl||2||3,199||Reasons why users wouldn't date a woman.|
|6||H1N1||1||2,872||Eugenia Sader, the Venezuelan Minister of Health, confirmed that there are 100 cases of influenza AH1N1 nationwide. There are concerns about the virus in other Latin American countries.|
|7||UK Comic Relief||1||2,565||Red Nose Day is part of the UK Comic Relief campaign, an annual charity fundraiser held each March by the BBC. Funds are raised by a telethon and also by various "fun" events by celebrities, businesses and members of the public across the UK.|
|8||#StopRightThere||1||2,192||One of BET's "106 & Park" show's daily hashtag trends.|
|9||#MoviesILove||1||2,192||People are sharing their favorite films.|
|10||Knut||1||2,161||A Berlin zoo official says world-famous polar bear Knut has died. Bear keeper Heiner Kloes said that four-year-old Knut died last Saturday afternoon while alone in his compound and the cause is not yet clear.|
1. WTT tracks the appearance of topics on the Twitter Trending Topics list and each week ranks the subjects with the most cumulative staying power. Explanations of trends are solicited from WTT users, Wikipedia-style; a community-voting system is designed to highlight the best explanations while burying lame or prank explanations.
2. For the purposes of this chart, we collect and process data until 12 midnight EST on Thursday night before each Friday's publication.
3. Ad Age works with WTT to consolidate multiple threads of chatter into one position on the chart when it's clear related Twitter conversations are basically all about the same topic, even if they use different keywords.
4. In WTT's proprietary trend-tracking system, points are awarded for both duration and rank in the top 10 trending topics on Twitter. The longer the duration, and the higher the overall rank, the more points are awarded. Measurements are taken in five-minute increments.
5. The crowdsourced trend explanations above are quoted as they appear on WTT, and therefore may have stylistic and grammatical quirks that don't adhere to normal Ad Age editorial standards.
For more information about What the Trend, visit the WTT FAQ. And check out WTT's Week in Review, compiled by its in-house editors and covering an expanded general list of Top 20 trends (including hashtag trends) here.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.