Was it the online chatter about the photos of Justin Bieber canoodling with Selena Gomez that propelled the former to No. 1 this week on the Social 50 chart? Or was it news of his "Vanity Fair" cover story -- complete with a glossy photo shoot engineered to make fans' hearts skip a beat -- that did the trick?
The Social 50 ranks the most active artists on the world's leading social networking sites -- YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and iLike -- using a formula that blends weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with weekly artist page views and weekly song plays.
Bieber's chart rise is owed in part to a 13% week-over-week increase in Facebook fans and a 43% jump in Twitter followers, compared to his gain the previous frame.
As for the rest of the top 10, Rihanna falls to No. 2 and Lady Gaga holds at No. 3. Also in a holding pattern are the Black Eyed Peas at No. 4 and Eminem at No. 5. Akon is up three slots to No. 6, while Katy Perry and Linkin Park are steady at Nos. 7 and 8, respectively. Shakira's up one to No. 9 and Ludacris rises five rungs to No. 10.
Making a big leap on the list this week is Snoop Dogg, who barks loud at No. 23 -- up 27 slots from No. 50 last week. Snoop's official MySpace page is up 807% in week-over-week views and his YouTube channel views posts a 25% increase.
You have to figure that the gains were likely linked to his new music video for "Wet." It premiered on Jan. 5 on YouTube and Jan. 7 on MySpace and has racked up more than 650,000 YouTube views. The fleshtastic clip -- featuring an armada of bikini-clad models cavorting around (and on) Snoop -- is a sort of engagement gift to Prince William of Wales. In it, Snoop rings up William's brother, Prince Harry, and invites the siblings to his Las Vegas pad at the Palms for a "Wet" time. Before you know it, (actors playing) William and Harry have descended into the video and are writhing amongst the models.
Also climbing the Social 50 this week are YouTube star Christina Grimmie (flying 24-14) and Don Omar (29-15). The former added two new videos last week to her channel, and they've each been watched more than 500,000 times. In turn, her channel fans (subscribers) makes a 39% gain over her new subscriber count last week. Her total channel views also rose, with a 53% week-over-week increase.
Re-entering the list at No. 37 is Bon Jovi, with a return perhaps encouraged by last week's DVD bow of its "Live at Madison Square Garden" concert movie. It had previously only been available on Blu-ray. Demi Lovato (No. 46) and Wiz Khalifa (No. 48) also re-enter. No new entries grace the tally.