Andy Warhol’s famous quote:
“Everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes“
is now a quaint anachronism from the 20th century. Thanks to the social internet, everyone is now capable of being continuously famous.
Perhaps not world-famous, but famous among enough people around the globe. Some personas will break out into mass stardom, assisted by traditional media. Some will be famous only in online communities, and they will be quite happy & successful there.
There is plenty of room for stardom. In sports there are often farm leagues – the minor leagues that feed up talent to the major leagues. In the online stardom arena, it’s a free-for-all, but the concept of farm leagues might apply, especially among the thousands of niche areas. The rumors of enough social media experts in the niche are far from true, as experts continue to share advice on how to make your own star rise.
There will not be a practical cap on the universe of online stars anytime soon. As the rise-and-fall cycle is, well, happening in “internet time”, it is viciously fast. This aspect allows for more stars. And, in a sense, “once a star online, always a star online”, as the social proof via metrics such as video view counts and written feedback & conversations may never go away.
Now let’s forget about the old days where everyone knew the 1st and 2nd-tier media stars, as the growth of India’s Bollywood, China’s film industry , and other production locales such as Dubai create their own stardom centers of gravity. Being world-famous can happen in niches, as has been proven on sites such as YouTube and MySpace.
Every day the worldwide online social network grows by tens of thousands, and should do so forever. One simple metric: every day there are hundreds of thousands of new teenagers in the world and many of them are already online (of course there are almost as many new ex-teenagers every day). Whatever the online coming-of-age threshold, user-generated-content (UGC) will always have thousands of new creators annually who can draw fans from tens of millions who were not online the year before.
Are you cut out for stardom? Even the introverted can find more fame than the mere quarter hour Mr. Warhol envisioned, and they can do it on their own terms online. So are true introverts headed for extinction?
The internet introverts of tomorrow may seek stardom in spite of their base personality. They will be updating their status continuously, always quick to tell-a-friend about what’s important in their lives, and these social introverts will blend seamlessly into an extraverts-only society online (as they perhaps conquer fears about the dark side of online notoriety).
Who won’t be a star in their community? The non-star list includes those people who are not networking online. Some non-networking behavior will be situational, such as people who cannot use a computer for physical, mental, religious, or emotional reasons. And there are generational aspects that stop older people from adopting online social networking techniques, along with digital divide factors that limit who can build or accidentally obtain their online social stardom.
After notoriety, one base necessity for web stardom is content. Usually this content is self-generated, and self-promoted. To be social on the internet implies interacting in form of content creation. Even someone’s RSVP to an event, or joining a group, creates a snippet of content.
But ubiquitous stardom for all may be limited by our own inertia, as revealed in the currently-accepted rule of thumb that 90% of us don’t create real content, and only 1% of us create the bulk of content. And many people have other life goals, ensuring that they do more with their lives and their influence to help others than simply chasing or embracing stardom.
[The next post here will continue an earlier post about online social capital and influence, and touch on how to utilize aspects of one’s social stardom.]