Social Media Wars: Rapper vs Astrophysicist

bob vs degrasseAbout a week ago I noticed an incredibly fascinating social media phenomenon, something that has happened before but not quite in the way it unraveled last week.  I am talking about a Twitter war.  We see it fairly often and more so in recent years.  Noteworthy Twitter battles as of late include rappers Wiz Khalifa and Kanye West debating over album titles and more, and presidential candidate Donald Trump taking aim at rival candidates and news correspondents he does not get along with.  It is widely understood that people love to express their opinions on polarizing topics on social media, but not always initially clear why.  Some people may think they are helping advance society with their profound thoughts, while others probably enjoy getting a rise out of their followers and whomever else catches wind of what they are posting, but it is yet another way for celebrities to stay relevant.

This brings me to the most recent Twitter war between an unlikely pairing.  Rapper Bobby Ray Simmons, better known as B.o.B., made headlines last week for announcing his support of the theory that the Earth is in fact flat.  I am not writing on this to comment on whether or not he is correct or not as I am no scientist myself, but what caught my eye about this is how it has snowballed since his proclamation.  After numerous tweets about why he feels the way he does including many terms that I have no idea how to make sense of, he caught the attention of world-renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.    You read that correctly.  A rapper, who by my modest opinion has not made a song worth listening to since 2011, caught the attention of one of America’s leading scientists by voicing his opinion to his 2.3 million followers on the Earth not being round.  As I mentioned I have no expertise in space or physics and I accept that the world is round because people much smarter than myself have made that abundantly clear.  As B.o.B. would put it…

Clearly he is passionate about what he thinks, and he believes we are all being deceived, but that is not an issue I am going to attempt to tackle.  What intrigues me is how this unlikely pairing of individuals were brought together by the power of social media.  I saw this cross headlines for a couple of days and was surprised by the traction it gained, particularly because deGrasse Tyson was giving it plenty of attention.  He shared explanations to some of B.o.B.’s claims.

And the most ridiculous twist in this unlikely Twitter battle came in the form of a rap battle, started by B.o.B., but finished by deGrasse Tyson who received some backup from his nephew:

There has not been a clear end to this battle, but it truly makes me wonder how else social media can connect people, cross industries, and get people thinking beyond the information we are given.

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One Response to Social Media Wars: Rapper vs Astrophysicist

  1. sydhavely says:

    Uh, oh. I hope Bobby Ray Simmons doesn’t think the world is flat, that the U.S. really didn’t go to the moon or that evolution is a made-up hoax, but indeed, someone has to answer him if he does, or do they? You’re correct in saying that social media has changed this commons debate. Great post, Mike, and indeed strange back-and-forth.

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