Linkage Love: Beyonce, Technology and Connection

by Anitra Cottledge

Remember this YouTube critique of Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” song/video from last year?

Whether you agree with the YouTube critique or not, whether you like the song or not, whether you think Beyonce is awesome, a feminist, an iconic entertainer, all of the above or none of the above — you have to admit she does know how to work technology to engage her fans and to share (carefully chosen) pieces of herself and her life.

A few examples:

• When Beyonce debuted her Tumblr site earlier this year, everyone was all aflutter. The Tumblr site features personal Beyonce photos through the years. Beyonce shared this message with her fans, “I Am: This is my life, today, over the years – through my eyes. My family, my travels, my love. This is where I share with you, This will continue to grow as I do. Love, Beyonce.”

• Queen B used her website to post a very touching letter to FLOTUS Michelle Obama about the ways in which FLOTUS has inspired her. The kicker? FLOTUS personally responding to the letter via Twitter.

• Beyonce’s hubby Jay-Z posted the first pictures of their daughter, Blue Ivy, on his website.

• Back on the Tumblr site, she posts two video previews of her first post-baby show, Revel. P.S. FLOTUS and her daughters were in attendance at the show.

• And just as an added bonus, Melissa Harris-Perry mentioned on her show this weekend that she would love to have both FLOTUS and Beyonce come spend some time with her in #nerdland. (I, for one, think that would be a really interesting conversation.)

Again, I think the moments that are shared by Beyonce — or any other celebrity or public figure, for that matter — are carefully planned. After all, Beyonce is notoriously protective of her privacy, and I think that makes sense.

The real question for fans is: do the ways in which Beyonce and her team utilize technology promote a sense of connection or intimacy in her fans? And from a practical standpoint, as those of us in student affairs look for innovative ways to use technology to connect with students, staff and faculty, are there lessons to be learned from pop culture and stars like Beyonce?

Linkage Love: Beyonce, Technology and Connection