Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Celebrities and social networking: Now you're famous. We hate you!

Celebrity, online,  Technorati, Lindsey Lohan, Meg Ryan, Brittney, Hugh MacLeod, Ignore everybody, wild wild east dailies, Blog, Twitter,  Jimmy Wales, Facebook,  Elvis, Dennis Quaid, LinkedIn, Bobby ChinnI had a meeting with a person yesterday who can legitimately consider himself a celebrity. He has an eponymous business, has written a book and currently hosts an international television show. Our conversation centered around solidifying his online presence. There's a website, a Twitter account, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other number of other sites who may comment and contribute to his online personality - and not all always in a positive way. Once achieved, a level of celebrity can also bring a level of discontent in a certain number of online wankers. I did a post about meeting Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and immediately received a raft of comments from people laying claim to some sort of 'founding' with Wikipedia as well. People who don't like Jimmy Wales. True? Not my job to validate or invalidate those claims - but it's everyone's job, anyone with any online presence at all, to make sure you manage that presence in as positive a way as possible.

And you don't think you're a celebrity? I don't either, but in the last few weeks this blog has become the #1 Technorati rated blog in Vietnam and I have been called out and treated as someone who has done something in otherwise normal social situations. Just on the street last week a guy yelled out at me, "Yo! Wild Wild East!". At another basically normal business meeting on another day the MD brought in a staff member and said, "She's a fan of your blog". Geez, a blogging celebrity? But the thing is - it's entirely possible, and in my case, oddly true. Do you think a lot of people sit around in their house at night and think, "The next big business idea is the Wild Wild East Dailies?" But I did.

My friend, Hugh MacLeod, a certified blogging celebrity, notes in chapter 35 of his book, 'Ignore Everybody' - "Savor obscurity while it lasts". Because once you hit the Internet, that clock starts ticking on what Andy Warhol termed, "Your 15 minutes of fame".

The most interesting thing about my recent celebrity meeting, and all the previous meetings I've had with such folks, is that that they all need to define what part of the person goes into the "Brand" of Oprah, Elvis, Tony Bennett, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Jimmy Wales and even Hugh - (and yes, I have met them all in more than a handshake capacity) to figure out which part needs to practice the art, clean the toilet, mow the lawn, have a romance, a family and as normal a life as makes them feel comfortable. My Monday celebrity simply wants to be able to do the work that made him famous and not have to dick with Twitter too much. God knows it hasn't helped Brittney or Lindsey Lohan too much.

And once you sort that out, you're on your way to being a celebrity as well. Like me! But I still have to pay for beers in bars.
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