Within a week after returning from SxSW Interactive, I began to reflect in an attempt to reduce the sensory overload into a digestible subject. On first glance, some of the hot discussions relevant to STC Interactive came to mind, from panel discussions on the politics (listen to audio) behind HTML5 standards and the opposing forces driving those developments (W3C vs. WhatWG) to the trench warfare aimed by Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera along with practically every member of the crowd at John Hrvatin, Microsoft’s lead Developer for their IE product line.
Instead, what was really nagging at me were a few lectures I casually happened upon. On
Monday Tuesday morning, Ballroom E at the Austin Convention Center was set up as a mashup in speed dating format, grouped into three 15 min lectures discussing related topics. This specific one was based around web video, nano-celebrities and the branding of those mediums.
Shane Tilton (@silnan) began with a presentation on internet celebrities, Nanocelebrity: How to Combine Expertise with Voice. He defined a nano and microcelebrity as singular voices who use digital technology to arise out of niche cultures and take on a sort of mascot status for their respective communities. Microcelebrities hold the most specific area of authority and smallest communities, drawing up to 1,000 fans. In comparison, nanocelebrities broaden their content and viewers up into the thousands.
Second on the list was Ben Relles (@benrelles) of Next New Networks, who eagerly announced their hot off the press acquisition by Google/Youtube. As the creator of barelypolitical.com and subsequent viral sensation: Obama Girl music video, Ben is a classic example of the rise through this microcelebrity trajectory to the limits of this tradition. Relles focused on the difficulties involved in bottling this idea of microcelebrity into a repeatable and sustainable pattern. The real work involves understanding your position as the voice of your peers and knowing how to “leverage” it.
Martine Paris from EA closed out the block by revealing her Secrets to Monetization (branding) within this microcosm of internet fame. Some of the most successful examples include Justin Bieber and Perez Hilton, who effectively turned their mascot status into a widely accepted brand. Uniform among all micro and nanocelebrities having converted their status into a profitable business is their overall effectiveness at maintaining the “everyman” status while participating as peers within their communities. At a certain point they begin to separate from the niche community as the sustainability of their brand takes precedent, transitioning into celebrity status. The sincere viral sensation with a low-end camcorder becomes the ironically self-reflective segway fleeing celebrity viral hit sharing the all-too-familiar name of Justin Bieber. Once a nanocelebrity reaches this stage, they begin to tear pages from the proven brand bibles of mega celebrities and multi-billion dollar international corporations. These personalities evolve into a paradox requiring the mindset of a brand manager who thinks globally at odds with their humble and focused origins.
Want to read more of our thoughts regarding SxSW? Catch part two of this post early next week!