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From about mid-September until the end of October, I spent probably six to seven hours researching and writing a blog post on Justin Bieber that looked back on his past and made some bold predictions about his future. You can read it here.
I spent more time on that blog post than I spent on my most recent school research paper, and I was proud of it. I worked really hard and had to revise about two dozen times because of new things that were happening as I was writing the post. It was annoying at times, and I felt like it was hanging over my head for a month, but I finished it last weekend and planned to post it sometime this past week. I posted it Tuesday, and after spending at least a half-hour trying to think of a good title, called it “Belieb It or Not, Justin Bieber Is About to Be the King of Music Again.”
One of the hours I carved out for the post each week was the hour Scandal comes on Thursday nights, as Susie watches it and it gave me an hour to knock out some of the post. One or two Thursdays ago, I was working on the post when she came in after the show was over.
She asked how it was going, and I told her it was good and I was getting close to finishing a first draft. I remember saying something like, “The post is going to be at least 4,000 words long, nobody reads stuff that long, and I’m probably just going to get made fun of for this. But it will all be worth it if he reads it and is encouraged.” She chuckled, and I think I said something like, “I know, it’s a long shot, but it would make it all worth it, even if I never knew he read it. I just hope he does.”
I know, it sounds dumb, and cheesy, and too “noble” to be true. But I was serious.
I was actually not planning to post it until Wednesday. But Tuesday morning, I saw Billboard did an interview with Bieber and put him on the cover of their magazine. They called the story, “The Rebirth of Justin Bieber.”
After I picked my jaw up off of the floor and repented of a couple of words I said, I texted Susie the Billboard piece and said, “I’m posting it. I held on to it too long.”
The similarities between the Billboard piece and mine are scary. Their story is obviously better because they’re pros and they were able to interview Bieber, but if you didn’t know better, you could say one of us plagiarized the other in some parts. Their overall message was the same: Bieber is back.
When I posted the blog on Tuesday, I only got about 120 pageviews on it (that’s low, and about what I expected), but I received a number of text messages and other encouragement about how well done the blog post was and that my hard work was evident. On Tuesday, after receiving such great feedback, the valuable time I invested in the post had already paid off.
In the blog world, sometimes you just feel like you have to write something no matter what the reception is going to be or how many people are going to read it. Whether you feel convicted about something, want to go on record saying something, or whatever—sometimes writers don’t care about readers, they just have to write.
That’s what this post was for me. Forsake all conventional blogging wisdom and just write something you’re proud to call your own.
Well, sometimes that pays off in greater dividends than one would expect.
On Tuesday, I scheduled a number of tweets for the blog post to go out on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday was uneventful because I wanted to give my followers a break on the post before I pushed hard on it album-release eve and album-release day, when the post would be most relevant.
Whilst having a spirited discussion with some friends on Twitter about Marco Rubio’s welders-are-cooler-than-philosophers comment (or whatever it was, I don’t even care anymore), the following tweet, which had been scheduled on Tuesday, was posted:
Tomorrow, @justinbieber will release the album that send him back to the throne of the Pop Music Kingdom. For real: https://t.co/RXjoualQnA
— Chris Martin (@ChrisMartin17) November 12, 2015
That posted, being sure to tag Bieber in the tweet, and I didn’t really think anything of it—didn’t even notice the typo.
I tagged Bieber in every tweet on Tuesday to no avail. I actually thought Tuesday would be the most likely day he would notice, figuring Thursday and Friday would be much busier for him, decreasing the chances he would see my post. Then, five minutes after that, this happened:
I saw that, and I was like, “Whoa.” As I was screenshotting it to text it to Susie and tell her that he may have seen my tweet and read the post, this happened:
Wow. Thanks https://t.co/hj34oIRSJL
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) November 12, 2015
I seem to remember, involuntarily, I think, saying something like, “YES! No way. No way. No way. Dude dude dude dude.” I texted Susie, and our good friend Katie Rocholl (the biggest Belieber I personally know), the tweet. I ran over to my friends on my floor at work and showed them.
I FREAKED OUT.
Now, here’s the deal. I didn’t freak out because Justin Bieber acknowledged my existence, though I did think of that. I didn’t freak out because I was going to get oodles of blog pageviews, though I was afraid my blog would crash.
I freaked out for one reason only: I DID IT! I accomplished my goal.
He read the post (theoretically) and was encouraged (hopefully). If nothing else is true, something about the post/tweet made him say “Wow. Thanks.” That’s pretty freakin’ cool, regardless of how much he read or anything else.
Let me tell you what happens when you get acknowledged by Justin Bieber:
Regarding that last point: I felt SO BAD, actually, after the celebration died down. Thousands of Twitter accounts exist that are fully devoted to being acknowledged by Justin Bieber. It’s insane. One girl actually tweeted at me about it, and we had a nice conversation about the phenomenon:
@KidrauhlsFaith @justinbieber I know! I actually feel really bad. I just wrote a big blog post on him. Sorry!
— Chris Martin (@ChrisMartin17) November 12, 2015
Thursday was fun. It was cool to be acknowledged by someone famous, sure, but I wasn’t recognized just as existing; I was acknowledged for something I worked really hard on, which is cooler.
It’s pretty good! I’m no music critic, so it’s hard for me to come at it from a sort of “professional” perspective, but I have been enjoying the album so far. I was hoping the album would be more poppy and upbeat than it is—the most upbeat songs are the singles, for the most part. But listening to the album a number of times now, I really enjoy it despite it not being what I wanted it to be.
As I wrote in the post before, Bieber is having a Timberlakian revival. And maybe like Timberlake, he releases a more chill album like Justified before he releases a more poppy album like The 20/20 Experience.
I mean even Timberlake recognizes the similarities, “lil’ bro”:
You too. Keep up the good work, lil' bro. https://t.co/SthPhZlaL5
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) November 12, 2015
I encourage you listen to Purpose even if it’s just on Spotify. It’s a good album. It’s clean. I think it shows Bieber’s newfound maturity. My two favorite tracks that were not pre-released as singles are “Children” and “The Feeling.” Susie’s favorite song is “Love Yourself,” which is a good one.
Anyway, this will probably be my last Bieber-related post for a while—so, sorry to any Beliebers who may be reading and have followed me on Twitter.
Back to our regularly-scheduled programming.