Slate: Name and Number of followers

Photo by DylanFursty

I recently listened to a conversation where someone went on and on about how silly the whole Instagram craze is, and how followers really do not matter to them, and how they just are not willing to stoop to that level. Another “expert” in my field described social media as “miles and piles of horses***” and while everyone unquestionably possesses the right to their own opinion, this writer must respectfully disagree.

As a working performing artist in the entertainment industry, this means I make money so long as people are entertained, which in other terms means so long as I have their attention. And it does not take a scientist to see that the attention has gone mobile. No surprise then that a market has popped up for commercials for youtube, print jobs for social media campaigns, and now a feature film for youtube red. A following on social media really does act like a built in audience.

More and more I hear stories about how “I booked the job because of my instagram,” “She booked it because she has a lot of followers” or casting breakdowns that ask for talent “with a strong social media following.” And after speaking with a few high profile management companies it became inalterably clear that a following on social media is now a part of the negotiation process. Naturally, I was not surprised when my own agent asked talent to not only be active on instagram but to submit their handles for casting purposes.

What does this all mean? It means businesses have already felt the tremors of change with the advent of social media. It means followers are the new currency. Engagement is the strength of the dollar. And it means that as a business owner, and especially as a talent in the entertainment industry, you must adapt or be left behind.

I am always interested to hear what others think on the subject, feel free to leave a question or comment. And look out for future articles on how to navigate the changing digital landscape.

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