Are you a Biebliever?

Posted: December 17, 2010 in Music, Pop Culture
Tags: , , , ,

I live by three rules: Don’t attempt anything until you’ve had your morning coffee, Johnny Walker should be served with ice and nothing else, and love anything that Ludacris does.

That last rule paid off big time when Crash came out. Great flick, Luda was awesome. Ever album that man has dropped has been a hit. His music videos are hysterical. I just love the guy.

So when he collaborated with Justin Bieber, I had to adhere to my rule.

In “Baby”, Luda offers his rhymes to the teeny-bop track. Read that again. One more time, if necessary.

When the track first dropped, I was baffled Luda was involved. I did my research. (Read: Log on to Wikipedia)

Bieber came from humble beginnings. He was discovered on YouTube by his now manager Scooter Braun. Braun runs Raymond Braun Media Group out of Atlanta with his partner Usher. The three met, Usher had a boy-crush, and the rest is history.

With Bieber’s new connections in the biz, he got amazing support from top producers and collaborators. I, as a musician, would literally kill a man for these connections.

Bieber blew up, stealing the hearts (and loins) of pre-teen, teen, twenty-something, and some middle aged females. His debut release had seven billboards hits and went platinum. His studio release was met with the same success.

I gave Biebs a chance. Not by choice, though. At my job, our ambience music provider pumped in what I dubbed “The Bieber Hour”.

In only two years, Bieber top the charts multiple times, has collaborated with top hip-hop and R&B producers and musicians, incited pre-teen girl riots, and appeared on CSI. Can Bieber get any bigger?

Nope.

Unfortunately our pop culture has a short attention span. It sucks for the talent in the game, but that’s just the way it is.

Who was the last male pop singer to release more than three albums that people actually listened to? Timberlake?

My prediction: Bieber plateaus, dates Ke$ha, develops a meth addiction, celebrity rehab.

Only time will tell.

“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that has” –Margaret Mead

I doubt Mead ever thought her quote and my writings of cyber warfare would ever meet. But it was this quote that echoed in my head on December 8th, 2010.

Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Amazon, and a few others were targets of what is known as a Distributed Denial of Service, or DDos, attack. In the simplest of terms, it is as if someone or thing went to a website and hit the refresh button thousands upon thousands of times. When multiple attackers are involved, and the amount of times the website is refreshed is increased, the web site goes down.

Behind this attack was a group known as “Anonymous”. The group comes from the image board 4chan.org, which is a completely anonymous website that allows is users to post photos and text. They are responsible for many internet Memes and underground humor. 4chan’s creator, Moot, advocates the need for anonymity to foster honest conversation, and has even been recognized with his on Ted.com talk on the subject. Aside from internet shenanigans, 4chan is also for activism.

4chan and Anonymous stand behind freedom of speech, and rallied behind WikiLeaks. When it was discovered that Visa and MasterCard denied processing of donations to WikiLeaks and Amazon suspended WikiLeaks hosting on their servers, Anonymous was angered. They launched “Operation:Payback” against these companies using said DDoS attacks. In order to bring down these sites, fortified for high traffic, they would have to be organized and in mass numbers.

That is what surprised me. Not willing to compromise their identities and remain “Anonymous”, they did this without e-mail, phone numbers, or names. I can barely organize a group dinner without sending at least ten text messages, yet they were able to organize and attack that took down Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal consisting of almost 5,000 strong. Using vintage technology like Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and their nameless boards, they were able to take the servers out and suspend the access to these websites1, each soldier nameless.

Their message was heard.

The attack did minimal damage. While Visa and MasterCard websites went down, their processing servers were not affected. PayPal saw slower servers, but no downtime.

It did prove the power of the collective. Five-thousand stood up against what they didn’t believe in. Five-thousand anonymous people made their voices heard. They did not need names, they were one being.

The collective of garage hackers brought down the corporation. With barebones resources, they were able to take down giants.

David and Goliath, if there were 5,000 Davids. But there were. And it worked.


1 Amazon.com was not affected in the raid. Their servers have proprietary technology to prevent such an overload due to the massive traffic they get around the holidays.

Do you remember the first YouTube video you ever watched? I have a hard time thinking back that long, but mine was probably some Eve 6 music video. Feel free to pass judgement.

I recently heard a baffling statistic. If you were to watch all of the videos on you tube, back to back, no break, it would take you two centuries!

That is a tough number to wrap my head around. That’s 10,512,000 minutes of user-contributed content.

What is so fascinating about YouTube, and Web 2.0 for that matter, is the fact that we are each contributing to a giant history book. Years from now, historians will look to these social media outlets just as we look at cave drawings today.

A recent study reveals that 24 hours of video is uploaded every minute to YouTube.

While many videos are ways to pass time, or get in a quick laugh (see: sitting on the toilet), I look at the big picture. YouTube, along with many other user-controlled content sites, will become our window back in time. When we upload a video of that Sugar Ray concert we were at, or the aftermath of the Hawaiian tsunami, we are creating more and more primary sources that will fill the encyclopedia of human history.

I, for one, think that this is one of the greatest achievements of human kind. A collaborative effort by each human to write the pages of history has never happened before. And with the advances of technology, most importantly the affordability of technology and the ever increasing span of internet access, each person will have a vital part in defining that moment in history.

Voutaire wrote “History consists of a series of accumulated imaginative inventions”. I couldn’t agree more.