Selena, Hailey, and Justin: A chronically online take

Annie Lund, staff writer

The rise of social media has caused a shift in communication in the modern day. While apps like TikTok and Instagram can be used for entertainment purposes, that’s not always the case. The term “chronically online” refers to people who spend so much time online it changes their perception of reality and hinders their ability to communicate about social situations, politics, or news because they lack real world experience. These chronically online users use their opinions as facts to make conflicts that affect others’ lives, including celebrities. 

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are a topic that the media can’t seem to drop, even after Bieber’s marriage to Hailey Bieber in 2019. After Gomez and Justin Beiber broke up for the final time in 2018, he married Hailey Bieber just six months later. Fans have speculated that Gomez and Hailey Bieber have always had unsettled drama, but in February of 2023 the people of TikTok made real issues. On Feb. 22, Gomez posted a TikTok making a lighthearted joke about her over-laminated eyebrows. Hours later, Hailey Bieber posted a screenshot of a FaceTime call on Instagram with Kylie Jenner seemingly zooming in on their eyebrows, which fans perceived as a dig against Gomez. As fans and TikTok users continued to speculate, Gomez and Jenner both came out with statements claiming the rumors were “unnecessary,” and that the claims were false. These accusations and claims have caused Hailey Bieber to lose over a hundred thousand followers, displaying the power of online users. 

 On Feb. 23, Gomez posted an announcement that she would be taking a break from social media, saying that she was “too old for [it].” Since the conflict began, the hashtag “TeamSelena” has gotten 1.8 billion views on TikTok, and Gomez has gained 20 million Instagram followers. Internet users like those on TikTok and Twitter have the ability to make something out of nothing, and their opinions tend to have a ripple effect. 

In recent years, the internet has seen first hand the effects of “cancel culture” and how the media’s relentless search for negativity in a character can ruin one’s reputation. In many cases like Hailey Beiber’s, the claims of those in the media have long term social and emotional effects that go deeper than Instagram followers and TikTok videos. While the online world has become part of the modern lifestyle, it’s important to note that the internet is permanent and that there’s always a real person behind the screen. 

This piece was originally published in Zephyrus’ print edition on April 20.