How social media stars dominate the internet with their presence
The millennials need a new social media personality? We’ve already got ‘anotha one.’
Social media has completely shaped the millennial generation. One of the biggest products of social media that has influenced this target audience are the social media stars.
Abby Schreiber, managing editor of Paper Magazine, said viewers are exposed to different types of social media stars, either through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Vine. This ranges from celebrities like Justin Timberlake to other celebrities like Kylie Jenner.
“There are the stars that become more famous through the more traditional route, they’re musicians, actors or models,” Schreiber said. “They have a whole team of people working for them to build this image and this brand, so everything is pretty calculated and they’re really projecting a certain side of themselves.”
DJ Khaled is one of the most influential social media identities to date. As Schreiber points out, he received his fame through more traditional means; he is a record producer who has collaborated with artists like Rick Ross, T-Pain and Lil Wayne. He first asserted his dominance online when he began using the app Snapchat to connect with his viewers.
In an interview with Tech Insider, Khaled recounted how he used Snapchat during a jet ski mishap. Khaled was jetskiing through the Miami’s Intracoastal Waterway at dusk, and when he got lost, he decided to Snapchat the entire journey.
The fact that his adventure made national news attention proves how Khaled’s social media identity has become so prevalent. Khaled said his Snapchats are meant to inspire people and see the real him.
“The thing is that what you see on Snapchat, that’s DJ Khaled. That’s Khaled for real. That’s Khaled,” Khaled said in the interview with Tech Insider. “My fans are seeing me besides my records and music videos and interviews. They’re seeing a more spiritual and at the same time motivational and inspirational side of me being at home.”
Khaled has coined some motivational phrases like “we the best,” “bless up,” and told viewers his keys to success.
In the case of Khaled, Schreiber said she thinks fame on social media can sometimes be a lucky thing.
“I think people who can figure out really quick what their thing is, what their brand is, like Humans of New York or Khaled, with his sort of inspirational empowerment message,” she said.
Schreiber said that on the other side of social media fame, there are young people who begin posting regularly on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or Vine and what they do begins to grasp their audience.
Schreiber wrote an article for Paper Magazine in 2014 about a group of teenage boys who rose to fame with their 6-second videos on Vine that attracted young girls everywhere. They became a group called “Magcon,” which stands for “meet and greet convention,” and started making appearances at public venues where hundreds of fans would line up to see them.
Schreiber points out that these boys, although not together anymore, served as pop idols who audience members around their age could relate to. This sets them apart from other pop idols who are not so easy to meet or connect with.
“There is something really compelling to a lot of fans, a lot of young girls, even boys, to have someone who seems simultaneously this famous idol, but who’s also obtainable,” she said. “They’re not someone who is making millions of dollars and performing in arenas throughout the world, but it’s someone who is a high school kid or a junior high school kid like them who happens to be really good looking and within a certain subset of people pretty famous.”
Social media has a way of creating a distraction for users, Schreiber said, and for young people, when these online stars assert their identity, they are connecting with this audience through relatable content. Viewers can begin to obsess over these people they’ve never met, or begin to hate them.
Schreiber said we are still waiting to see how social media, and these social media stars, are impacting the young audiences. It is hard to tell if it has been negative or positive.
“The best benefit is that it connects people, especially young people, like never before,” Schreiber said. “On the other hand, I think it definitely distracts you and takes your attention and your mind away from more important things, whether it’s school work or work. I think it also breeds a certain competitiveness because if you’re watching things on instagram or on vine, you see these people with ‘amazing lives,’ you can easily feel that you are somehow inadequate.”
Ana Borruto is a sophomore journalism major who prefers face-to-face interactions with people she looks up to. You can email her at [email protected].