Tag Archives: lauren luke

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How to be famous on social media

On Tuesday I went to a school careers fair to talk about working in social media. Nearly all the pupils I met (aged 13 – 16) were already active on social networks like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram; a couple had their own YouTube channels.

Some of them asked me how to become an influencer. They were keen to monetize their presence like Zoella or KSI. One of them wanted to know how to ‘be famous”. Most had questions about how to make the jump from using social media for personal social networking to using it for work.

Here’s the advice I gave:

1. Yes, there are YouTubers and celebrities who’ve become famous and made millions from their social media profiles. They probably make up less than 1 percent of people who earn a living through social media. Many of these (like Paris Hilton or Kylie Jenner) already had money and networks of privilege to help them. Others (like PewDiePie or Jenna Marbles) have become leading influencers through their own unique style and delivery – and sheer hard work. It’s not impossible but the odds will be stacked against you.

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Britain’s popular culture goes posh – can social stop the rot?

Working class hero
Apparently, our popular culture is in danger of gentrification.

The most shocking stat in Sean O’Hagan’s recent article, A working class hero is something to be…but not in Britain’s posh culture, was that 60% of current successful rock and pop acts were former public school pupils, compared with just 1% 20 years ago.

The article goes on to state that the paths taken by the many British cultural icons with working class roots – like Julie Walters, Tracey Emin, Dizzee Rascal or Alexander McQueen – simply aren’t available today.

The introduction of university fees, the end of grammar schools and prohibitive inner city rents means it’s tougher than ever for bright children from poorer families to find opportunities to work and develop alongside like-minded people.

Can social media to anything to help level the playing field? Of course, I’m an evangelist, so I’d like to think so. Lauren Luke and Jamal Edwards are just two examples of working class kids who’ve found fame and fortune through talent, hard work and YouTube.

But nothing’s going to happen until they start teaching social media properly in schools, and by the look of things that’s a long way off.

Photo: Dominic Campbell

10 questions

1. How relevant is Metcalfe’s Law to social networks?

2. If we apply modern neoevolutionary principles rather than C19th, deterministic ones, accidents and free will have an important part to play in social evolution. Does social media enable these and, if so, does social media therefore enable social evolution?

3. How instrumental is social media in creating less hierarchical organisations?

4. How are social tools changing our behaviour, if at all?

5. What is the long-term impact of the type of self-organisation identified by Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody? (We can blog on WordPress, customize our Myspace page, set up a community on Ning…)

6. Are we seeing a new type of hero emerge and, if so, what does that signify? Craig Newmark, Lauren Luke, Barack Obama and (our local hero in London) Lloyd Davis – all these people built businesses/ careers by building a community first.

7. As various factors (environmental, social, political) push for an end to the consumer age, does social media have a role to play in bringing other values to the fore (or does it simply accentuate consumerist values?!

8. How realistic is Jamais Cascio’s idea of the participatory panopticon – can we attempt to control surveillance through sousveillance? Does the Twitter/ Carter Ruck/ Trafigura episode prove we’ve turned a page, or simply that the censors will pay more attention to Twitter next time round?

9. What do we think of the UK Conservative Party’s attempts to embrace the social web? David Cameron has talked about storing NHS records on Google, his advisor Steve Hilton (partner of Google’s Rachel Whetstone) has coined the phrase post-bureaucratic age, former New Labour new media advisors like MySociety’s Tom Steinberg have swapped sides…?

10. We could argue that the many-to-many structure of social networks enables a ‘long tail’ of human opinion to be heard. But can any diverse, ‘bottom-upness’ be sustained, or will it be back to ‘business as usual’ once the Web 2.0 dust has settled? Can the durable Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) ever truly be inversed?