Cafe Witness

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

How Long Is Your Internet Celebrity Shelf Life?


Remember last year's video for Weezer's "Pork and Beans"? It was filled with all the YouTube stars of the moment.

How many of them are still recognizable today?

Internet fame is fleeting. People become disproportionately famous for (usually) doing something novel or unusual, once. And then they attempt to turn that one-time novelty into a brand. And then they try to get paid for it.

Some Schticks Last Longer than Others

Gary Vee has been successful both promotionally and financially with his Wine Library TV webcast, a gig that's grown beyond the confines of the internet and gotten him invited on The Conan O'Brien Show. Gary's content is primarily information-based, which means it's built to last over time instead of flaming out when he can't think of a better punchline.

In order for Gary to start losing traction, he'd need to be outperformed by a competitor who offers:

* more compelling information
* higher-quality content
* better ease of access, or
* a more widely-embraceable personality

And even if that were to happen, Gary still has one more ace in the hole: he was first. Some fans won't ever migrate away from the pioneer, even if the competition is stronger, because legacy occasionally trumps legitimacy.

How to Avoid Rickrolling Yourself

If you're planning on becoming "internet famous," make sure you're extraordinarily:

* informative (particularly within a scalable niche)
* entertaining (at least to a dedicated audience)
* engaging (because nothing replaces authenticity)
* original (and unlikely to be duplicated)
* available (everywhere), or
* first

Unless you're one of those things, odds are, you'll never become the kind of celebrity whose exploits titillate the rabid throngs. Instead, you might be relegated to the island of one-hit web wonders, where the real estate is cheap and the skyscrapers stretch forever upward...

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4 Comments:

  • I'd like to think, perhaps, naively, that the vast majority of people aren't trying to be THE NEXT BIG STAR, but are mostly interested in allowing Social Media to be a platform for them to do what they do and reach the audience that they reach. And that perhaps, that audience might grow- some- over time. Maybe not. Maybe we all want to be celebrities? As an artist, I have always wanted to show my work. Getting it out there so that others see it and can interact with it is important. I've never really been all that big on becoming an art-world celebrity, but I have been appreciative for what publicity and reputation I have received. Like, it is a real cool thing, when you go to the gym, and some big buff guy, who you aren't sure can even read, tells you that he saw the article about you in the paper and congratulations. I didn't have the exhibition or win the award (or whatever) just so that someone would congratulate me. Still I like the positive strokes it provides and the fact that it came from an unexpected source is even better. Possibly the difference is, in the Social Media world, more people may see something you have said or posted and they don't tell you. Maybe not more- a city newspaper has a pretty good circulation- far greater than the number of people who are my friends on Facebook, or who read my blog. Just some thoughts. Back to work.

    By Blogger Thomas, at 1:07 PM  

  • I think you nailed it.

    By Blogger wit4life, at 3:24 PM  

  • If you are always fashion conscious and like to keep up with the latest style, you will undoubtedly be a celebrity observer and very knowledgeable about celebrity lifestyle.

    By Blogger Slow Marks, at 4:18 AM  

  • By Blogger lamiss ibrahim, at 2:40 PM  

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