Stop your bitching: Why we should welcome celebrities to Kickstarter, Twitter and any other digital platform
It reminds me of the wounded pride once real celebrities started to get on Twitter and amass millions of followers — far outpacing the homegrown Twitter celebrities, who even had the assist of a manual suggested user feature.
But we should all welcome “real celebrities” embracing these platforms, because they bring with them more attention and dollars than they take — not to mention legitimacy and staying power. Even with “real celebrities” promoting stuff on Twitter and raising money on Kickstarter, these are still tools that democratize the ability to grab attention and funds. If the stars of the establishment embrace them, they might still dominate the attention and funds up for grabs — but they also bring more attention and funds with them.
And that benefits everyone. It benefits platforms like Twitter and Kickstarter. It benefits others on those platforms trying to get funds and attention. And, ultimately, it benefits fans and consumers, because a big, vast Hollywood machine isn’t controlling everything. I guess the only person who doesn’t benefit is the guy who only wants to see sequels of “Fast and the Furious” and read canned interviews with its stars with no authenticity.
I’m all for celebrities crossing the aisle to the disruption side of the house. And one of my favorites to ever do so is the comedian Louis CK. He was on “CBS This Morning” (aka the only morning show with an ounce of thoughtful substance), and I caught a bit of his interview where he said something relevant to this whole debate. Charlie Rose asked him why he’d taken such an entrepreneurial bent with his career, asking if it was for money or power. CK corrected him, saying “No, it’s for fun.”
There is this thing that happens when you are struggling — you take what you can get, and there seems to be this big machine running everything. And then, when people get past that line, and you’re getting in demand, and you’re putting asses in the seats — as they say — in the theatre, and you are starting to command… Then you have some ability to make choices. A lot of people who are big, they say ‘I can’t do anything; I’m part of this machine.” I wanted to see — once I get to that higher level can you do things differently?
As tech companies start to morph more into media companies and really pose legitimate threats to the incumbents in New York and Hollywood, this is what needs to happen next. They have distribution. They are starting to get economics (although that’s clearly still a struggle with music.) But more than anything they have to appeal to an artist’s sense of fun and cool and their desire not to become part of the machine just because they are succeeding.
CK also noted he keeps an index card in his work area to help him back out of writing sketches that just aren’t working. It’s become his mantra for life. It reads: “This can be anything you want.” That’s exactly what the Web can offer artists that traditional channels cannot.
[Image: Chris Buck/GQ]