By Shaneza Subhan
If you’ve been keeping up to what’s been trending these past few days, it’s the latest Internet sensation #AlexFromTarget.
Sixteen-year-old Alex Labeouf who works at a Texas Target store became the number one worldwide trending topic on Twitter after a young woman posted a picture of him on her Twitter, gaining thousands of retweets.
He was considered cute by young women and the tweet went viral. The picture has now been taken down.
Dan Westell, Journalism instructor at Ryerson University, questions #AlexFromTarget’s future as a trending topic on Twitter.
“Where will he be tomorrow?” asked Westell. “Will he be paid attention to tomorrow or will he be gone and disappeared?”
“There’s a lot of random stuff that happens on Twitter and it’s very hard to figure out the why,” he said. “It seems that it’s mostly about what teens do and I think it’s very interesting to see where he will be in a week or a month.”
Labeouf gained so much attention that talk show host Ellen DeGeneres reached out to him and brought him onto her show.
He was just as confused as most of the world as to why he was trending.
“My manager came up to me and showed me the actual picture,” Labeouf said on The Ellen show. “I thought it was fake and about an hour later, these random girls came in, showed me my Twitter page and it had 5,000 more followers.”
Blake Lambert, a Liberal Arts professor at Humber College, refers to Twitter as having no gatekeeper. He said it allows society to pick and choose what they find is important.
“He’s a good looking kid, but he works at Target so who cares?” he said. “There are a lot of good looking people in America and Canada but they don’t get hash tags.”
Lambert said that trends are people getting hooked onto something that they find appealing, but with personal taste, what’s appealing to one person may not be to another.
“The trend that’s been more prominent to me has been the hash tag #BeenRapedNeverReported trend in light of the issue around Jian Ghomeshi,” he said. “That’s an example of a positive trend.”
Lambert said it’s like pop culture because “there are crucially important hash tags that are societally relevant and there are memes set up by teenagers with time on their hands.”
Riley Sparks, a reporter from the Toronto Star, said in an email interview with Humber News that the #AlexFromTarget trend is meaningless.
“It doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t make sense in the way that many things on the Internet doesn’t make sense,” he said. “It’s no different than any large trend, online or in real-life but the speed and spread was spectacular.”