News Column

Promgoers Tweet for the Stars

April 11, 2012

By Natalie DiBlasio

Justin Bieber,

Leon Purvis, 16, is trying to get pop star Justin Bieber to go to prom with him -- "just as a bro." His invitation has gone viral on YouTube with more than 139,000 views.

Purvis of Glassboro, N.J., is one of scores trying to grab celebrity dates on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. After stars such as Taylor Swift recently responded to invitations, anyone on social media might have a shot at landing the date of a lifetime. "I have not heard anything from him yet, but 'never say never,'" Purvis said, quoting one of Bieber's hits.

Social media "celeb-ing" became widely known after Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake and Kristin Cavallari accepted requests to go to military celebrations last year. As this year's prom season rapidly approaches, it's really taking off.

The rise of Twitter and Facebook make people "feel completely entitled" to just ask a celebrity to be their date, says Christine Monnier, professor of sociology at the College of DuPage. "Social networking platforms have a leveling effect and tend to make hierarchies disappear," Monnier says. "They are only one link away from that celebrity."

Some are quite determined. Mike Stone, 18, of Oakdale, Minn., sent hundreds of tweets to porn stars, asking them to go to his prom. Megan Piper, 19, an adult film starlet, said yes, but the school administration said no. So Stone plans to throw his own prom.

Other notables:

Georgetta Wuo, 18, made a YouTube video asking NBA Minnesota Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio to the prom at Minnesota's Champlin Park High School. Her video has more than 84,000 hits.

Brooke Dutridge, 18, has more than 1,700 supporters in a Facebook group asking American Idol star Scotty McCreery to escort her to the prom. Dutridge suffers from full-body Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy, a chronic pain disorder. "I haven't been able to have a normal high school life," she says. "Senior prom is the last big thing, and I want to make it special."

Kevin McGuire, 18, who is fighting cancer, asked Swift to the prom in February. Swift couldn't make the dance, but she extended an invite to the Academy of Country Music Awards show. Sick with a 103-degree fever, McGuire couldn't make it. Swift tweeted, "I'll make it up to you, Kevin!"



Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2012