So let’s get real.
Can blogging really build you a fan club?
In other words, can it make you a celebrity?
The answer, of course, is yes. And you don’t need to be anywhere near the so-called blogging A-List for it to happen.
After all, as historian Daniel Boorstin once said, celebrities are simply people that are well known for their well knownness. So whether your audience is 100 or 100,000, you’ll have your own fan club as long as those people are into what you’re doing.
Anyone can do it, but only some will do it well. Doing it well will have a lot to do with how you treat the people who pay attention to what you do and say.
As various forms of media have aggressively expanded in the last century, so has the concept of celebrity. Back during the early days of film, a viewer’s interaction with the stars was nothing short of awe-inspiring. You sat in a cavernous, temple-like movie theater and watched as your heroes where projected, literally larger-than-life, on the screen before you.
When television came along, things changed a bit. Not only were the stars cut down to size, but TV made them come to us. Now you could do your ironing while you watched, and simply switch the channel if you became bored.
Then came 24-hour media saturation, where meteorologists, home decorators, infomercial gurus and sports commentators are all deemed celebrities, simply by being well known.
And now, more than a decade into the Web, we have a medium where just about anyone inclined to do so can broadcast their thoughts and likeness. As easy as blogging and other social media make it to publish, it has become clear that Warhol was right.
Give people half a chance, and they’ll tear you down as quickly as they built you up. Especially if you (1) forget what it was that attracted people to you in the first place, and (2) ignore what they want from you going forward.
Some of the biggest stars around understand this, while others are either completely clueless or too full of themselves to be gracious. Get a bit of blogging fame going for you, and you’ll need to figure out how to best treat your own fans.
As conflicted as he has been about fame and the Hollywood system, Johnny Depp shows nothing but love for his fans. Catch him in a crowded airport, and he’ll sign an autograph for you while carrying his luggage. George Clooney is another giant star who knows where his bread is buttered. He’ll happily joke around with and sign autographs for his legions of devotees, often while making self-deprecating comments about himself in the process.
Cameron Diaz, on the other hand, either hasn’t a clue or thinks she’s much too smart for her silly fans. Ask her for an autograph, and she’ll not only refuse, she’ll lecture you about how dumb autographs are (which is another way of saying how dumb the person making the request is).
I don’t care if you’re an actor, singer, blogger (or all three) — building a fan club is hard. You’ve got to figure out what you possess that has value to others, and then never forget the fact that unless you’re continuing to give people something that’s important to them, you’re destined for the “where are they now” category.
And it remains to be seen if washed-up bloggers will even rate a show on VH-1.
So, really… don’t be Cameron Diaz.
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