Sunday, 27 October 2013

The day Youtubers took over the world

Last week I witnessed a once in a life time event. It was a seminal moment in my fifteen year career.

It confirmed a hunch I've had for some time. PR has changed forever. The power has firmly shifted. And there's no turning back.

No longer is the mainstream media in pole position.

The new kids on the blocks are native to the digital age.

They are young, confident, professional and on the cusp of not only rewriting how brands must now manage their media relations, but they are also redefining the cult of celebrity.

Gone are the days of the manufactured star. That's not to say they won't continue in some form or other. But the new stars are real, authentic, what you see is what you get.

Their fans, followers or friends are just like them - in many cases quite literally like them.

They are accessible and open. They interact and engage. They actually care.

They flourish because of, not in spite of, their normalness.

They're not perfect. They're not always the most beautiful.

They are certainly not polished, or made up, or lit in such away as to mask their blemishes or flaws. There is no behind the scenes glimpses because there is no behind the scenes. Everything is up front.

And their influence is growing and growing and growing. 

As a result we're now at an interesting cross roads.

Truth is some people arrived at that junction a long time ago and the rest of us are just catching up.

We're slowly realising what has been happening right under our eyes in full view we just weren't looking.

But even those who claim they get it, that they understand the brave new world, when you pick away at it you realise they can't let go of what they are used to.

They are still wed to the world they / we grew up in. TV and press. Gossip and gander. Fake reality and falsehood and the awful self loathing it often created. They want to poach these digital natives and use them (literally use them) to prop up the world they are from.

No doubt some will be tempted. Ego will kick in and cloud their better judgement. But in my view the ones who don't cross the divide will conquer. Will win out.

In the new world of real stars connecting with millions of others like them, and I mean millions, national broadcasting is no longer the preserve of ITV or Sky.

YouTubers are now in charge of their own destiny. Content is still king. Yet the content is unscripted.

Yes it's often vanilla. Yes it's only relevant to a cohort of the population. But in the next five years that cohort will be the majority. They will be the young families with toddlers. They will be the ones with a voice. With an audience. With a tribe of like minded influencers.

The wave they are riding now signals a tsunami coming that could wash away the structures of mainstream media, rip up how we're governed, and sweep in a more inclusive, more healthy and more sustainable relationship between what we see and what is actually real.

The cynics will say that's all a load of bollocks. And even if I'm right it could still all go pop.

The media moguls may move in and gobble them up one by one.

My hope though is those days are gone. I look forward to telling my grand kids what those days were like and how odd they really were. 

No comments:

Post a Comment