Home Music Bits Blog: Digital Diary: Rihanna and Beyonce Define the Social Web Spectrum

Bits Blog: Digital Diary: Rihanna and Beyonce Define the Social Web Spectrum

From The New York Times:

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with Rihanna and Beyonce. I devour their every post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.

But as I’ve been following them both online, I’ve started to notice something intriguing about the way they each use the social Web and what it means about a future where everyone has some sort of presence online, a future that we seem to be barreling toward with increasing speed each day.

The first thing to know, however, is that they each sit on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of how one can use the Web to give their followers, friends and audience a peephole in the lives they lead and the worlds they inhabit.

Rihanna posts dozens of updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter, chronicling her round-the-clock antics with a raw, unfiltered quality that feels borderline unhinged.

First, Rihanna. The seasoned pop singer, as one of my friends described it, is “completely nuts.”

To say that Rihanna, whose breezy, electro-synth dance tracks have been unofficial dance club anthems for the past six months, is prolific on her media of choice, Instagram and Twitter, would be an understatement. On any given day, she posts dozens of updates and photos on both sites, chronicling her round-the-clock antics with a raw, unfiltered quality that feels borderline unhinged.

Many of her photos have a grainy, pixelated quality, the result of taking photographs of herself with the front-facing iPhone camera. Sometimes these self-portraits present Rihanna in full glamor. She likes to show off her lean, shapely figure, mostly through MySpace-style cam shots, scantily clad and pouting in a bathroom or full-length mirror, and she’s especially fond of uploading pictures of herself with thick curls of smoke snaking from either her nose, her mouth or a combination of both. She seems to be completely uncensored by anyone sensible in her camp — she often curses and is not above lashing out at anyone who takes a jab at her on Twitter, even MTV, which plays her videos for her fans. She once posted nothing but song lyrics from her latest album, sometimes juxtaposed with photographs, for 24 hours.

Beyonce’s Tumblr page conveys the sense of flipping through the vacation photos of your wealthier, more attractive and popular college roommate.

Beyonce’s Tumblr page conveys the sense of flipping through the vacation photos of your wealthier, more attractive and popular college roommate.Beyonce, on the other hand, a pop icon, maintains a cool, poised presence on the Web. Her preferred outlets are Tumblr and Twitter, kind of. (Her last — and only — tweet is from the fifth of April, announcing her Tumblr to her four million followers.) She (or the New York-based development firm that manages her site) frequently posts gorgeous, glossy photographs of Ms. Knowles and her family that convey the sense of flipping through the vacation photos of your wealthier, more attractive and popular college roommate. She’s often shown barefoot on white sand beaches, curled up in lounge wear, thumbing through magazines on a boat, holding hands and gazing wistfully at her husband, the rapper Jay-Z. Sometimes, the site features handwritten notes from Beyonce, written in beautiful swirling swoops that someone has scanned and uploaded to her site.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The New York Times