Old vs. New Media: The Greatest Shift of Celebrity of Human History
Let’s journey back to a more simpler time. Let’s say 1995.
Or perhaps 1996
Now imagine you went around asking strangers on the street a simple question:
‘Who are the most famous 5 people in the world?”
- You ask young people
- You ask old people
- You ask white people
- You ask black people
You will tend to get the same 10-15 names no matter who you ask:
- Bill Clinton
- Michael Jordan
- Bill Gates
- Kurt Cobain
- Boris Yeltsin
Try that today and a funny thing happens.
Ask a 29 computer programmer living in Silicon Valley and he’s likely to say something along the lines of:
- Elon Musk
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Tim Ferriss
- Joe Rogan
- Donald Trump
Ask a 38 stay at home mom living in the Suburbs of Chicago and she’s likely to say:
- Ellen Degeneres
- Barack Obama
- Donald Trump
Ask a 12 year old surfer from Malibu and he’s likely to say:
- Logan Paul
- Jake Paul
- Lilly Singh
- Donald Trump
There are some constants, people who’s media reach is so far and wide you can’t escape them (unfortunately), but there’s a subtle shift happening that we’re all witnesses to.
It’s the idea of celebrity
The concept of celebrity is changing in front of our very eyes. Ted Danson may be famous to every single american male ages 50+ just because they grew up and raised their family with him on a television screen. But is he famous to a 17 year old who hasn’t owned a TV in their entire lives? Is he famous to that 21 year old college student who watches YouTube 5 hours a day but hasn’t flipped on MTV in 3.5 years?
My answer would be no. Fame only exists through awareness.
When media consumption shifts, so does the awareness.
Yes, this phenomenon existed in the past but the divide has never been so grand.
It’s only getting wider — and we are witnessing it in front of our very eyes.
Where does this lead?
The divide will become even greater in years to come because there is no middle man any more. No executives at ABC that decide whether you can create on their platform or you have to let your idea die in obscurity.
Small groups behind closed doors aren’t choosing who the stars are, the market is.
I’m not going to be arrogant enough to say this will yield in 100% upside. But democratizing choice and who is influential is a much better system in my eyes rather than letting the few in power choose for us.
What this leaves us with is more opportunity for the masses.
Why is this good news?
It means that for every single person who has an internet connection it means that you have a shot. You can be the king of Youtube Plumbing. You can be the thought leader for natural remedies for narcolepsy or narcolepsy diet.
Want to be the thought leader for all thing Smurf?
Go ahead and Smurf it up.
We are no longer powerless to who gets to be “influential”, we as consumers now have the power and it’s not going away anytime soon.