September 4, 2013

What’s all this twerking about?

If you’re anything like me, a 30-something year old parent who’s typically in bed by 9:30 most nights, you probably weren’t up to watch this year’s MTV’s VMAs. But like most people today, the first thing we go for when we wake up is our mobile device, so the previous night’s big topics are all over social media.

As I drank my morning coffee, I went on Facebook. Scrolling down the page was post after post about Miley Cyrus’s performance. So where did I turn to next? Google. After a quick search on “Miley Cyrus 2013 VMA”, I landed on MTV’s site. Three and a half minutes later, I felt as if I had just witnessed a car crash in very slow motion. Between the bears, her tongue, hip thrusting and then the foam finger, it was an awkward and uncomfortable performance (as described by many faces in the audience, most notably Will Smith and family).

Twerking - Will Smith VMA Reaction

I put down my iPad, pushed my jaw shut and got ready for work.

On the car ride in, I heard on the radio that Miley’s performance received 306,000 tweets in a minute. Let me repeat this stat, 306,000 tweets in ONE minute. That’s more tweets than the Super Bowl blackout received!

Two days later the Oxford Dictionary Online (ODO) announced  the addition of “twerk” to its arsenal.They did say the word was on their radar for a while. I wonder if Miley’s performance had anything to do with the sudden addition.

I wasn’t sure what twerking actually was. I knew Miley did some version of it the night of her VMA performance.  I grabbed my iPhone, and looked it up. ODO’s definition is:

Twerk:  v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.

I guess I may have twerked once or twice in my lifetime. I think back then we called it “grinding” or maybe just plain old “dancing.”

Miley did exactly what she had aimed to do. She created so much buzz around her performance that she went from having hardly no searches on Google to skyrocketing to the peak of search interest as shown on Google’s Trends below.

Google Trends - Twerking

This is the power of the internet and social media. With so many people tweeting, blogging, posting on Facebook, searching on Google, You Tube, Bing and Yahoo, we have the power to capitulate a topic or person into cyberspace fame (even if we do see them crash a few days later!).

And just in case you missed her performance, here are the top 15 highlights. Enjoy.

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