Eleven trends for finding fame
(Editor's note: This is the second of two parts. Read Part I.)
During the Middle Ages, there were peasants and royalty and very little in between. Over the past couple centuries, mediums like newspapers, radio, and television were born, giving rise to whole new classes of celebrities.
More recently, over the past two decades, the Internet has spawned countless new media channels, each giving birth to their own brand of celebs. At the same time, there are far more changes afoot than most of us realize.
1.) Additional Channels for Discovery – Today, the path to fame can take thousands of different routes. As an example, becoming famous on Quirky, Kickstarter, Vine, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pintrest, or Reddit are all options that were never available 20 years ago.
2.) Far More Categories of Fame – Everything from video game tournaments, to online cooking shows, to crowdfunding campaigns have all spawned new categories of famous people.
3.) Every Level of Fame Comes with Incremental Degrees of Recognition – Gone are the black-n-white days of famous or not famous. As the amount of information we consume increases, so does the space we have in our lives for those we admire. In addition to name recognition, fame can be measured by the number of social media followers, video views, article downloads, online web footprint, books sold, radio appearances, or a multitude of other metrics.
4.) The Multidimensional Nature of Fame – Today we have famous people in every industry, every community of interest, every nationality, every region, and in tons of quirky online niches. Tomorrow there will be even more.
5.) Better Tools to Manage Fan Clubs – It’s rare that people become famous without effort. It typically requires effort, usually sustained effort over a long period of time. Managing a personal fan club is all part of the work that prepares people to climb the ladder to celebrity.
6.) Fewer Gatekeepers – Yes it is still difficult to get an article published in the New York Times or make an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmie Fallon. It even takes some work to get your Kickstarter campaign accepted. But anyone can create a blog, self-publish a book, post a YouTube video, or create a Facebook account.
7.) Risk-Taking is Approaching Free – At the same time that gatekeepers are going away, recording and posting videos, blog postings, tweets, emails, Facebook entries, and a multitude of other tools needed to become famous are becoming less expensive every day.
8.) Raising the Bar on Accomplishments – Running the 4-minute mile has come and gone. Every well-crafted TED talk competes for mindshare with every other form of media. Every significant accomplishment raises the bar, causing our expectations to grow. Our short attention span coupled with our ability to instantly switch channels or webpages has left us with little tolerance for average and mediocre performances.
9.) Our Need for Heroes is Increasing – The Internet is enabling each of us to live hyper-individualized lifestyles, and every social circle, area of interest, and technical profession demands people who are our heroes to help guide our thinking
10.) The Path to Celebrity is Becoming Clearer – The number of “personalities” we will come into contact with throughout our lives will continue to grow. Our increased exposure to celebrity people gives us a better perspective on how to become one.
11.) Novelty is Limitless – There is no limit to human creativity, and combining ingenuity with emerging technology, existing tools, and a few expansive approaches to unlocking what’s possible, gives anyone who would otherwise be destined to live their lives in obscurity a way out.
No one can deny the brilliance behind the enormously successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that garnered over 1 billion views on YouTube during it peak two month period of July and August of this year. But what triggered its success?
It all began when Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, both having been diagnosed with ALS came up with something they called the "Cold Water Challenge."
The challenge first received media attention in the U.S. on June 30, 2014, when the program Morning Drive, aired the first on-air Ice Bucket Challenge on the Golf Channel.
Soon after, Matt Lauer did the Ice Bucket Challenge on The Today Show after being challenged by Greg Norman. This was quickly followed by everyone from Bill Gates, to Elon Musk, George Bush, and millions more getting buckets of ice water dumped on their heads.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has come and gone, leaving many of asking, “What’s next?”
The only predictable path to fame is through success, but success is hard to define and rarely predictable.
As I wrap up this discussion on grandstanding, I will leave you with three parting thoughts:
- The future favors the bold
- Fame is best leveraged by those who are well-prepared
- Grandstanding without a follow-up plan is useless
If you’re looking for a new grandstanding approach to promote your business, product, or yourself, there will always be some new way to get discovered.
As famed marketing guru Seth Godin likes to say, “Marketing is a contest for people's attention.”
It may be helpful to think of grandstanding simply as a global competition for people’s attention. But what you do after you’ve gained it will be a key deciding factor.