The cult of social media celebrityism

I’m starting to become acutely aware of the extreme amounts of entertainment vehicles,  media outlets,  media devices,  content consumption and content creation that are being produced at massive levels all around me. Social media can do that. It can expose you to a lot.

But I’m also coming to a conclusion too.

From a media/content standpoint, what we consume and how we consume it for some of us, is in direct proportion to what we create and why we create it. Social media seems to be  central to this theme that we need to be and can be validated through this “instant recognition”. We see it and we want it too.

Call it “social media celebrityism” if you will. In other words, we the content producers, want to be noticed, we want the attention that we see the “others” getting.

Why do you write? Why do you create vlogs? Why do you tweet? Why do you share your content? Are our motives altruistic? What is the bottom line reason? I don’t know your motives but I would guess that most of you don’t create content out of a vacuum.

What this really means is that all of us content producers have one goal in mind whether we care to admit it or not. We want to be noticed. We won’t shun it if it comes our way. In fact, on the contrary. We’ll embrace it in a heartbeat. I don’t turn down many opportunities, do you?

It’s like we all want, at the least, the 15 minutes that has been afforded us. Most of us would take more if we could too. We laughed when Warhol first said it, but the more I continue to sit back and watch how our wired world is evolving, I see a public that obsesses over being famous and in turn obsesses over  the famous.

Social media has made us vain. Social media has made us want more. Social media has lowered the bar and social media has lowered the barrier of entry into this world.

Social media has made us conscious of the attention we can get and it makes us want it all the more. Most won’t admit that, but most won’t turn away from the recognition if it is somehow bestowed upon them by accident either.

There’s nothing wrong with it. but my concern is that as we become more desensitized to and inundated with UGC, either our desire for better quality will increase-which would be OK, or our expectations for more outrageous, salacious content will need to be met, or we will feel the pressure of sacrificing quality over sensationalism. Sadly, that may have already happened…

Being digitally shallow and outrageous will take on new meaning thanks to social media and search. Our 15 minutes of fame will be compressed and zipped to 7 1/2 minutes…

This isn’t happening to everyone but I dare someone to say that they have never written something that didn’t possess a certain amount of link bait. Who’s to blame? Me, you, our readers, new media, old media, technology..We’re all to blame and yet there’s not a thing we can really do about it. It is the world in which we live in now.

20 social media predictions for 2010 that might actually happen

I’ve been asked a number of times already to provide some predictions for 2010 in the social media space. What I find interesting is that oftentimes we haven’t followed through on the predictions from the last 3-5 years, so I thought, “let’s put a list together in which the predictions have a better than 50% chance of happening”. So here goes.

1) Facebook will change their privacy settings again. This would appear to be a lock.

2) A large public company will misstep in its usage of social media and the social media community will use it as an example along with Motrin and Dominos and nothing else.  Again, another lock.

3) Google will create a social app that creates a lot of buzz on Twitter and then it will slowly fade away. Think Side-Wiki and Google Wave.

4) Seth Godin will piss someone off with something he wrote or did that goes completely against the grain. There will be viral tweets about it, Seth will explain, tweak, and everyone moves on.

5) Someone will create a customer complaint video that will go viral-again. The company either reacts quickly and they’re applauded for their swift action or they don’t and they’re hung out to dry by a social media flash mob.

6) A large social media darling start-up will be acquired, and dozens more will fail and dozens more will be created.

7) Twitter will continue to evolve into a self-promotional vehicle. In the beginning it was all about the convo, then it morphed into echo, and now it’s all about the promo.

8. Another 5000 apps will be created for the i-phone. No Brainer here right?

9) Brands will continue to say that they are social, but it will be in name only.  Why? Because they still don’t know what they’re doing and are afraid to admit it.

10) 40 hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube every 30 seconds.

11) Chris Brogan will be attacked again on someone’s blog for essentially doing absolutely nothing-again

12) You will see the consolidation of some large agencies into the mega-digital agency.

13) UGC will more and more be the driving force in online advertising since it costs nothing. Somewhere a light bulb will go on.

14) The FTC will continue to focus on paid bloggers and recommendation engines. This is not over.

15)  On Twitter, authority will continue to be defined by influence which will be inversely proportional to popularity

16) A Twitter business model will emerge and it may just be the model we all love to hate-advertising.

17) The argument around the ROI of social media will not end-nor will the incessant amount of blog posts surrounding it either.

18) Large scale social media aggregation projects will continue to pop up, with the thinking that “that” is what the people really want, it’s not.

19) Social media case studies will start to appear that are less accidental in their success, and more purposeful in strategy, implementation and measurement.

20) Taking umbrage with those that call themselves social media experts will continue.

21) What do you think is possible in 2010?

Hopefully you’ll see that some of these were created purely for fun and others I truly believe have a realistic chance of occurring. Only the next 12 months will tell. Happy Holidays everyone.

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Does the tail wag the dog?


I often wonder who calls the shots.  Some how the older I get the more important that is to me. I like leadership. I also believe in followers too. There’s nothing wrong with people following. Thought leadership? I like that term too. People that push the envelope of thinking in marketing, social media and technology are leaders.

I love “what if” questions too.

But in social media, though leadership is needed and is important, except that it’s the crowd that steers the ship.  The mob dictates. Viral determines. On Youtube, sensationalism seems to rule. Humor dominates.  Getting hurt drives traffic. Perez Hilton is a must read. Jason Calacanis and Michael Arrington shift the tide. Why is that?  No longer does big media/ mass media call the shots.  The fourth estate  is and was the dog and yet  it no longer wags its own tail. The user calls the shots. The tail wags the dog.

That isn’t such a bad thing except…

Our thirst and their thirst too,  is now satiated by the envelope that was once here and now is here…


Which begs the question, “Where will this put us in 5 years?” I’m not afraid of the tech aspect of that question.  That is exciting. I’m just wondering where the standards and where our ethics, morals and norms will be in that time. The more that UGC( user generated content) explodes on the scene and continues to permeate every pore of our online being, the more desensitized we become, which means, we’ll want more. Our expectations and our needs become greater. Almost to the extent that even governing bodies might start letting down their guard.

Face it, we’re becoming UGC  users and junkies; and where our fix comes from next (the technology) is not as important as how strong the next fix will need to be just to function or satisfy our demand.

There’s not a thing we can do about it either.

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Where does UGC rank on your trust meter? 10 perspectives on User Generated Content.

This is going to be an ongoing viral tweet. and I will continue to update. I think it’s a very important topic.

I’m going to start off with a great post from Steve Rubel titled ethical social media marketing that I think we should all read and send to others.

Next here’s an article from newsweek in which the author thinks that the UGC pendulum is swinging back towards the experts.

Better read this one user-generated content site gets sued by copyright owner for naughty uploading habits of users

From an SEO perspective we have: Maximizing SEO Returns with User Generated Content

Here’s a blog dedicated to UGC

Here’s a great article by Paul Chin about the value of UGC which I highly recommend.

Want to know about the rise of user generated content? Read this article from Entrepreneur

and then the dark side-or When user generated content goes bad

Are you someone’s user generated content? and All (User-Generated) Content Doesn’t Want to Be Free:

Now at this point you should be getting the gist. So, what are your thoughts on user generated content? Do you put more trust in your peers and communities than you do traditional media, online media and word of mouth? Who’s blog do you trust? who’s opinion do you bank on? Do you find yourself spending more time online than watching or listening or reading traditional media sources?

Take the UGC Survey