It used to be that celebrity sat atop a pedestal, protected behind managers, publicists and their sacred talent agency walls. Celebrity was the product of scarcity, traditionally out of reach of their audience outside of the occasional sighting on ‘E’, People or Us magazine. But a new crop of celebrity, born out of digital – not so long ago laughed at – but now revered, is crossing over into the inner sanctum as they surpass their traditional peers.
The New Celebrity thrives on abundant, open access and that is exactly what they cultivate as they connect and communicate directly with their fans. Digital talent, born via YouTube, are of a different generation and the DNA of celebrity has changed. Celebrities are born as fans connect and grow via personal connections and correspondence with those that move them. They are not afraid to reveal one vulnerable layer at a time until they move us. Products of a feedback loop, analytics and iteration – their most powerful weapon is truth of self vs. publicist made. They even have their own conference where they get to meet fans in person. Digital Media is infinite and if you are not competing in real time you may be irrelevant today and most certainly will be by tomorrow. The psychology behind the tools we now use, builds the type of bonds the old boob-tube could not.
Traditional fame is not only unaware of the tide that is about to overcome them, but most are not equipped with the tools or the tenacity to compete. This was the launchpad for companies like The Audience, first a manager of celebrity feeds turned influencer tool for Brands. But tools extend beyond the literal nature of our technology to a more obscure & newfound decorum of direct communication. Communication that calls for the relentless tenacity of 24/7 connectivity to the channels being fed. It is simply too exhausting for the old guard who may soon be overrun.
The big question in all of this is; can those who connect on the small screen, convert the ‘act’ to other mediums. For this it is too early to tell, but early indications show that traditional media is willing to take some early gambles for #FOMO. One example of this is Flula Borg signing with UTA, or Hannah Hart’s book deal. Does anything get better than Michelle Phan going from #DIY beauty princess to full fledged cosmetic star with multi-year contracts and her own line? So, YouTube celebs jumping to film and TV? You betcha.
If you want to keep up with the up and coming digital creators and rising stars, follow my YouTube Celebrity/Creator List on Twitter.
For more great reads on the change to celebrity take a look at some of the links below.