The Kanye Effect - Who's Next?

By: Mallorie Rosenbluth

Last month, Kanye West finally decided to grace the Twitterverse with his presence. After posting an elaborate blog back in May 2009 asking, in all caps, “WHY WOULD I USE TWITTER?” he caved to the pressure and decided that if you can’t beat ‘em, you should join ‘em. And join ‘em he did, leaving a slew of random, often difficult to interpret, SMH-worthy tweets. Much to the delight of his faithful followers, Kanye has become an active and avid Twitter user, letting us catch glimpses into his life and the ponderings of a self-proclaimed genius.

To date, Kanye’s account is being followed by almost 675,000 Twitter users. Some of these people are clinging to his every Tweet, others are waiting to see what idiocy the man comes up with, and another sector - most likely including 18 – 24 year old guys - are looking for material to share with their buddies at the bar. Or even better, to be followed back by the newest King of Twitter (sorry, Ashton).

Kanye has chosen to click the “follow” button on only two accounts, and big things happened both times. Let’s take a look at the Kanye Effect and see if this is the Midas Touch or the Kiss of Death.

Steven Holmes (@ste_101) Once upon a time ago, Steven Holmes was the first and only person Kanye followed (Kanye, being the fickle performer he is, has since un-followed Holmes). How did all of this happen? On July 31st, Holmes did what most other male college students did and tweeted @KanyeWest. The thing that was different about Holmes, though, is that Kanye actually followed him back. And chaos ensued. Holmes’ follower count soared to over 7,000 and countless blogs were written about this 19-year-old student from Coventry, England. Kanye’s response to his choice? “You are the chosen one dun dun dun dun,” he tweeted.  Holmes was none too pleased with the attention though, citing the experience as “surreal", refusing to speak to the press, and telling the world (or the Twitter-world, at least) that he didn’t want to be famous. He attempted to go the J.D. Salinger route as he cast off the attention, but his life as a recluse lasted 8 days before his next Tweet was posted. I’d write about what he’s up to now, but truthfully, no one cares. 15 minutes at its finest.

Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) Not that the man (uh… boy) who inspired the phrase “Bieber Fever” (and the wildly under-used, though much preferred, Biebonic Plague) needs the likes of Kanye to gain attention, it happened nonetheless.  When Kanye shared with the world that he was listening to Bieber’s “Run Away Love” the man-child squealed like the girls at his shows and promptly retweeted Kanye to his over 4.5 million followers, letting all his lovers (and haters) know just how cool the Biebs really is. After flirting for awhile and swooning at each other over similarly-titled tracks on their latest albums, the BFFs started talking about heading into the studio to record together. OMG KW+JB = BFF 4EVER! Basically, Bieber is now hood and Kanye makes up for his assault on Taylor Swift at the VMAs. Brilliant PR for all involved.

So who will Kanye set his sights on next? And what havoc will the Kanye Effect have on the unsuspecting Twitter user? Will it be another Warhol-ian 15 minutes or the making of yet another celeb bromance? Let us know in the comments.