Chapter 337: Another form of rebirth
Weibo’s affiliated company, Xingchen Technologies, gave no further statements on this.
Similarly, after leaving that first Weibo post, Apple gave no further responses at all.
Seeing the increasing number of inquiries and followers behind her original post, Apple called Xu Tingsheng from Shenghai and exclaimed in a spoiled manner, “I can’t wait, I can’t wait! Xu Tingsheng, I don’t want to be holier-than-thou! I so want them to hear my new song as quickly as possible, and watch the MV too. Maybe Ms Fang will see it too?”
Xu Tingsheng smiled wryly, “We’ve got to let it brew for a few days first.”
This was actually just how people were. If the answer was definite to one thing, the attention would instead quickly quell. On the contrary, if there was an unknown factor, there would be increased speculation, discussion, contentions, with it becoming even more popular a topic.
This sort of phenomenon was growing increasingly evident in the internet age.
Apple’s return was doubtlessly the most popular topic on Weibo now. Apple definitely did not have such a standing considering the entire music industry. Still, she was one-of-a-kind in this newly launched Weibo.
More and more topics concerning Apple came up, and more and more things trended on Weibo.
<<Why has the returning Apple become Cen Xiyu? Because of that pain she wants to forget>>
<<Regarding whether Apple has already successfully terminated her contract with Tianle and signed with a new agency>>
<<Could it be the title of a new song? Wasn’t the ‘Long Time No See’ on Weibo in guillemets?>>
<<Stop. Just give me the release date of the new song>>
<<Where have you been this half year when they disallowed you from performing? Have you lived well, have you been unhappy? We, are still here>>
The rational lot and the emotional lot rallied together. Several of these posts caused Apple to cry as she had to desperately resist the urge to post a response and console these people time and time again.
At the same time, the impatient fans and the random onlookers who had nothing better to do started doing their own stuff on Weibo. Not needing any form of guidance whatsoever, random life stuff, random selfie stuff, random food stuff as well anecdotes that included confessions and feelings after breakups...these thus surged into existence.
“Hey, have you registered for Weibo yet? Let’s follow each other.”
These words increasingly began appearing frequently in various settings.
More and more people who did not know who Apple was in the first place began surging in. This meant that Apple was actually just an initial bait. Instead, she ended up receiving more attention due to Weibo.
These people came to know her from the most trending topic on Weibo before going to look her up on the internet, thereby beginning to anticipate her return whether out of curiosity, sympathy or plain interest.
When the number of registered users on Weibo hit the one million mark, Xu Tingsheng himself registered for his own account which had his identity verified with a ‘v’. Following that, those of the Black Horse Club as well as those around him, including his friends, classmates and football mates successively registered as well, following one another on Weibo.
The next day, Xu Tingsheng left his first Weibo post: Hu Shengming, your Mum’s yelling for you to go home to eat.
Many people took this seriously. Many were amused. Those who had nothing better to do decided to join in the fun as they successively shared it and commented on it as well.
“Who is Hu Shengming?”
“Why isn’t he going home to eat?”
“Hu Shengming, it’s been two days. Has your Mum found you yet?”
“Discussing the tragedy of youths’ addiction to the internet from Hu Shengming’s unwillingness to go home to eat.”
“I suspect that Hu Shengming may not want to go home to eat only because his Mum’s cooking isn’t good. Ladies, learn how to cook! Otherwise, let alone tying your husbands down, even your children will leave you and go.”
And so it was that as the platform known as Weibo arose in the year 2005, Hu Shengming was the first to shoot to stardom overnight.
In just two short days, Hu Shengming’s Weibo account had one of the most followers amongst everybody else’s aside from Apple.
Rolex, Lamborghini, Hermes, cigars...Hu Shengming basked in this sort of attention as he now began a new routine of showing off his wealth on Weibo, feeling triumphant amidst all the envy and curses that naturally followed.
When the Black Horse Club next gathered, Xu Tingsheng reminded him, “So many people have been looking at your Weibo for so many days, but why are you only just showing off your wealth and not making use of this chance to promote your three KTVs?”Most of those present were veterans in the business arena as they immediately understood. What a wonderful free advertising platform this really was! And it was free, too!
“Shengming, help me to promote my products too...I’ll give you a bottle of Lafite in return.”
Hearing Gao Yupo’s words, they all gained an even greater understanding of Weibo. Those with more followers were not just enabled to promote their own products or services for free, for they could similarly be paid to advertise for others!
Xu Tingsheng borrowed Hu Shengming to kickstart Weibo’s popular internet culture and major business functionalities.
22th April 2005, ten days after Apple’s first post.
Hucheng Tongcheng included, ten major websites posted on their front pages:
“Apple, Cen Xiyu, Long Time No See. 29th April, 8’ o clock. See you on Weibo.”
The same advertisement appeared not just on the internet but also in close to twenty popular newspapers and magazines, taking up entire pages on its own.
At the same time, in Shenghai, Yanjing, Xihu City as well as the other first-tier cities and higher, on billboards at bus and train stations, the LED screens on tall buildings...these advertisements were everywhere.
Xu Tingsheng had spent big money to pave the path for Apple amidst her resurgence while also promoting Weibo on a large scale in the meantime. These goals did not conflict in the slightest, instead complementing each other.
This was also exactly why Xu Tingsheng had staged a buyout of Apple’s album and acted in sync with Weibo’s launch. Since he could do these two things together, with it also being more effective that way, why would there be a need to act separately, spending two separate sums of money?
That same day.
There was a second post from Apple’s account, Cen Xiyu.
There was only a single word in the text: <<Rebirth>>.
The posted image was the cover of the album.
On it, Apple was wearing a T-shirt, blouse, jeans and cloth shoes as she carried a guitar and walked atop a grassy plain that was illuminated brightly by sunlight. Her head was tilted to the side as she gazed over and smiled radiantly, free and without restraint…
This was completely different from the image she had displayed to everyone during her time at Tianle. Back then, they had defined Apple like a ‘jade maiden singer’, deliberately establishing a gentle and affable image for her as she wore a white dress and smiled shyly and warmly...
How was that Apple? Xu Tingsheng had not liked that constructed image at all.
As for the current Apple, while one could not actually say that her image and style had been defined, looking at her picture on the cover of the album, besides youth and sunlight, there seemed to be only a single word which could describe her: Freedom.
Consolidating this along with the text, people analysed Apple’s intent:
She had rediscovered herself. The formerly restrained, repressed Apple had now returned to being Cen Xiyu who had regained her freedom. Such was her rebirth.
The title of the album was <<Rebirth>>.
What the netizens had guessed about the meaning behind the title of the album was basically correct.
Firstly, this was a rebirth of Apple’s own lifetime. As others saw it, this was a rebirth amidst her career as a singer as Apple became Cen Xiyu. And to Apple herself, following this rebirth now, what had returned to her might also be her mentality from before the age of ten as she was no longer lost, no longer fearful.
In addition, some netizens speculated:
Could this be Apple reminiscing on her time in Rebirth?
Is this a hint that her return is related to Rebirth?
Are the new songs all written by Rebirth?
What these netizens had no way of knowing was that the name of the album had actually been set by Xu Tingsheng.
That was another form of rebirth.
Whether it was those who were paying attention to Apple or those who really couldn’t be bothered, the number of Weibo users began increasing at the rate of a geyser spurting.
Having an acute sense for the management of his artistes, Shi Zhongjun quickly discovered Weibo’s value. After communicating with Xu Tingsheng, he announced that all Tianyi artistes would be entering Weibo…
The number of registered Weibo users skyrocketed yet again.
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