The Coming Stardom of the Masses

Hello all!  Don’t mind the dust as I uncover my chair and warm up the Pentium 3 on the desk here.  I was at Denver ComicCon this weekend and while a good time was mostly had by all, a full con report should be forthcoming if greenlit by the editors.

Now, what I want to talk about is star power.  The golden age of CorpNews was smack in the middle of the democratization of the media conversation, and we thought we had it good. The overall reach we enjoyed as bloggers extended into the gaming industry was unprecedented at the time and usually reserved for big corporate sites.  Mini rockstars of the internet famous.

A decade later internet famous is not what it used to be. It’s a whole lot larger.  I was watching the various autograph queues and what struck me most is that Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton were drawing lines that were easily triple George Takei and orders of magnitude larger than folks like Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette from True Blood,) Colin Baker (the 6th doctor,) and J. August Richards (Of Angel).

The power to be famous is in everyone’s hands.  While Wheaton had a fair leg up on this endeavor  Ms. Day basically started kicking rocks up a hill from somewhere around the internet equivalent of Death Valley and is now well on her way to needing oxygen for further ascent.  If you look at the next wave, you have people like Hannah Hart and Jenna Marbles who are building a fanbase and expanding their offerings while growing their businesses.  For most, it started with a YouTube channel and steady content output.  Wheaton jump started his career on the back of appearances with Felicia Day.  Now with Kickstarter and other crowd funding sites, even building a financial base is possible, reducing the uncertainty of starting something new with good production values.

Now, with that said, most fail to follow through enough to make it.  They relent after an early success or fail to continue to pay the fans back for putting them in the position of success after they get there.  The key I saw with both Felicia and Wil is that they were taking time with everyone who came to their booths and were showing interest.  This creates a positive feedback loop for that fan and keep them loyal and following the star.

I will be interested to see how subsequent waves fare as the tide rises, since not all ideas are seaworthy.


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