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
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...