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Published on December 14th, 2006 | by Tom


Web 2.0 Endgame: In The Future, Everyone Will Be A Celebrity

The trends don’t lie.  One day, each of us will be a celebrity. 

Web 2.0 well may be remembered as the Great Awakening of human self-expression.  After all, humankind has never had greater opportunities to communicate, connect and collaborate.  The Internet itself is mashing into one big nexus space for the sharing of ideas, opinions and dress sizes.  And, it is no longer mimicking old media by granting elevated position to intermediaries and experts.  Today, it is user- and community-driven content that fascinates and compels.  It is the promise of reaching out and being heard, of making a human linkage, of standing for something, of proving that you lived.

The trends don’t lie.  User-driven content is exploding.  About 30% of the pageviews on the fast-growing new-media newspaper company come from community comments, not professional journalists.  What’s hot on YouTube?  Not commercial work, but the everyday stuff, our stuff.  Look at the startling growth trajectories at MySpace and YouTube and Flickr.

It’s not aggregated or licensed content, or even original content that’s king anymore. You-generated content is king.

What will this turn of events mean for the Bubble Generation and beyond?  Soon we each will be the most celebrated entertainers, story-tellers, musicians, funnymen, and artists of our day.  And there will be no strangers.  Everyone will be known by everyone.

As a marketer or businessperson, you have some things to think about, you celebrity you. 

For example: How will you sell to fellow celebrities?  How will you hire celebrities to work for you? More critically, how will you manage a celebrity and her expanded sense of self (not too mention his lengthy contract rider)?  At a personal level, where will you rank in the "nine circles of celebrity" that will undoubtedly be devised to help us make sense of universal celebrity-hood?  Will you base your personal happiness on your most recent Technorati, Digg or Reddit scores?  Philosophically, will you live the John Battelle way or the Roger Simon system?  How will you handle the celebrity-sized jealousies you will face within your network and at the office? 

No, my famous-faced friend, you’d be well advised to rethink a future where all of us are celebrities.

China, very soon home to more celebrities per square foot than anywhere else on the planet, has a great old bromide applicable for these times: "Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it."

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