Are Social Media Stars becoming more Influential than Mainstream Celebrities? American University Professor Investigates the rise of YouTube Stars.
Marketing Professor, Jeentendr Sehdev from the University of Southern California believes young female internet starlets could be the next ‘big thing’ to take over the red carpet.
The professor conducted a study in October 2015, where he discovered that social media sites like YouTube, has helped females users such as 29-year-old YouTube comedian & vlogger Jenna Marbles and beauty Vlogger, Zoella to create demand in Hollywood.
The results showed that social media stars were ‘in tune’ with their Hollywood idols, making it easier for them to crossover into role of model and influential status.
According to the professor, social media encourages these young women to sell products to impressionable audiences which he describes as the ‘authority factor’.
YouTube first launched in February 2005, and by 2006 the site saw around 66,000 video uploads being posted by active users. Currently, the social media site – now owned by Google – has as many as 1 Billion unique users subscribing, engaging, archiving and building the sites online community.
Social media encourages online engagement for media audiences – it connects people – and for teens, this connection easily translates into trust and respect,“That’s really where the advantage of the YouTube stars is coming in because they are not just the face of what they’re doing. They are also entrepreneurs. They are business women and media planners and entertainers,” Sehdev explains.
The professor also believes entrepreneurship gives the social media starlet as much, if not even more credibility than young female celebrities who are pushing through Hollywood such as, 20-year-old Actress Zendaya Coleman and 20-year-old super model Gigi Hadid.
Marbles and Zoella may have become successful products of social media because they have created global interest to millions of unique users. They built platforms that exposes them to advertisers – the perfect PR starlets for brands – but does that give them enough clout to obtain more power than young Actresses, Singers and Models of today’s generation?
Starlets like Zoella allow their consumers to feel closer to brands because consumers are well-informed with the who, what, where, when and how in real live time – social media starlets help to sell a reality to their viewers.
It’s great, in fact, it’s amazing when a mostly male dominated industry acknowledges women who are breaking barriers in the entertainment industry. It helps to bridge the gap on equality issues however, online engagement is not the main role or source of income for young celebrities of Hollywood.
Women on both platforms are playing two very different yet very positive roles.
Social media is a credit to the celebrity and a source of income for the starlet. The surge of girl power is most certainly on the rise however the celebrity still remains the ultimate influencer because a celebrities credentials out weigh those of a social media starlet.
As soon as the next social media platform arrives, the ‘authority factor’ will settle and media audiences will be looking for the next big thing.
Meanwhile the Taylor Swifts and Beyoncé’s of this generation will continue to obtain their power. One only has to look at this years Super Bowl performance to know where the power remains.
To read Professor Sehdev’s full interview click here
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Written by Susie Kellie (Chief Editor of Flock To The Crown)