Focus on sex appeal and a lack of morals: why Miley Cyrus (and Lady Gaga) do social media wrong

Miley Cyrus was once the innocent teen sensation, Hannah Montana. She was deemed a good role model. But, that ended as soon as she her contact with Disney was terminated. And after that, she has taken the path that many Disney stars have infamously took -- growing up way too fast and transforming to stay relevant with an older audience.

2013 was the year that Miley Cyrus completely underwent that transformation. With her jaw-dropping performance at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) with Robin Thicke and continued press coverage, she has generated buzz like no other. Though that talk was in regards to the disgusting nature of her work, she has nevertheless had meteoric success. Her fame has continued to skyrocket in the past year. Paired with her personal tweets on Twitter and social media  where her voice shines through, it would seem she has hit all the right notes of marketing. Except for the morality. And that ultimately hurts the rest of a celebrity's mission to create a brand.

As Taylor Swift told Katie Couric in an interview in 2012, "I think a mistake that sometimes gets made when there's pressure to grow up, you look at that artist and you think, 'You didn't have to grow up ten years in a month. No, that wasn't what you had to do.'"

But that is exactly what Miley Cyrus has done. In fact, Cyrus has recklessly sold herself and her brand with whatever means necessary in an attempt to barge into a crowded music industry. In an attempt to promote her new album, Bangerz, she tweeted the following: 

Miley Cyrus used this tweet to promote her new album, slated to launch 2 hours after this tweet.
Cyrus' focus on creating a sex appeal is characteristic of what society expects from artists today. Look at the stories in the tabloids. Many celebrities have exploited the idea of sex appeal -- from skimpy clothing to sexual innuendos -- to fully market themselves. The interaction she received was not bad and the audience reach was most likely worldwide. 

The tweet showcases Cyrus' infamous body that was sure to generate buzz and stand out from the regular onslaught of tweets that merely contain 140 characters of text or a simple photo. Yet, the tweet cannot be considered a success. The penetration rate, or the percentage of Cyrus' followers that acted on the tweet, in terms of Favorites,  was only 0.066%. Still, later in the month, Lady Gaga decided to follow suit.

Lady Gaga used sex appeal to promote her album as well. 
Even with 40,000+ followers, she only received 8,699 Retweets and 7,650 favorites, even less than Cyrus.

Lady Gaga fared even worse than Miley Cyrus. She had even less clothing and sold herself and her brand on the premise of her body even more so than Cyrus. Still, in Favorites, the penetration rate here was an dismal 0.01%, even while Gaga has experienced more exposure and fame than Cyrus. 

Taylor Swift's innocent and simple photo of a cute cat generated more interaction than Cyrus and Gaga combined.
On the other hand, Taylor Swift shares innocent photos relevant to herself and her brand. Her tone is much more mature and professional and focuses less on her body or the sex appeal. In terms of social media and Twitter, Taylor Swift has done amazingly well. She has been more effective than virtually other players. In fact, Taylor Swift's penetration rate on a tweet of her famous cat Meredith was up to 0.08%. 

The tweet related to Swift indirectly, yet, fans were still all over it, pressing Retweet and Favorite.

Taylor Swift's promotion of her own album, that did not include any sex appeal, generated more interaction than Cyrus and Gaga individually.

Even for the promotion of her own album, she did not degrade herself to exposing her body. She still received more Retweets and Favorites than Cyrus' and Gaga's tweets with the same intention of promoting an upcoming album.  

As part of my University Writing class, the interaction each account received is the most important metric we must analyze. Though it is very appealing to me to continue talking about the unfortunate lack of morals Cyrus and Gaga have and my belief that the numbers don't show everything that is wrong, we must focus on that data today.

Miley Cyrus received the lowest amount of interaction, which can be reflected by the fact that she only has a little over 15 million followers. But, Lady Gaga has over 40 million followers, but consistently receives less interaction than Taylor Swift, with 36+ million followers. Clearly, something is working for Swift that isn't as well for Cyrus and Gaga.

Though the world sometimes appears to be less focused on morality and ethics, it seems to be the reverse on social media. Artists that focus on sex appeal receive a fair amount of interaction, but, may not reach as wide of an audience as those with a focus on values. Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga's marketing strategy is seriously flawed. The degradation of their self-respect has not made their tweets as effective as they could be. 

Artists and celebrities are role models for the rest of society and should remember the responsibility they have to act with ethics and morality instead of pushing themselves to the borderline of prostitution.