The world is changing. FAST. For the more astute among us, we know a simple truth: we are all one viral video away from superstar status. Even if said stardom lasts for even a few moments. Many persons have worked out the formula to go viral: Choose the best suited platform, throw in a dash of unexpected, a relatable moment, a decent camera angle and voila – a rocket-ship to fame.

I recall a time when one hit wonders used to take quite a few dollars and time to create (Poking at your “Achy Breaky Heart” Billy Ray Cyrus), now, a video dedicated to shaming all fibbers with the help of a throwback 90’s instrumental, a few carefully placed expletives, snazzy dance moves, haute ‘fashion’, a shrewd cry out to the creator and a toilet placed ever so subtly in the background, took the internet by storm spawning thousands of parodies and creating insta-fame for its creator. For those not making the mental connection, i’m taking about this guy: The “Why You Always Lying Guy”.


From Jamaica (the locale i’m penning this) to Japan, this video was highly copied and celebrated and the “why you always lying” verbiage has become a global slang.

Besides many trying to imitate his signature dance moves, the same my two left feet have been unable to master, the real power of this and many similar videos  from equally ‘amateur’ sources, are that they represent the rise of the new Prosumer.

prosumer is a person who consumes and produces media – Alvin Toffler

Everyone with a camera phone, internet access and the desire to share their interests, ideas or a few jokes now has a global audience thanks to the interconnectivity provided by varied social media platforms. The public isn’t ‘content’ consuming content any more, they want to create it and this trend will take on new heights in 2016 as these popular personalities shed the moniker ‘social media stars’ and just become stars.

What makes many internet celebrities truly endearing is their openness and the caring they demonstrate through responding to comments and engaging with their fans – something their Hollywood counterparts rarely do. They come from the masses and are seen as the friend from around the way who made it. Social media catalogues their rise and fans can come along for the entire journey, from their first YouTube video to first guest appearance on television, feeling nostalgia and partial ownership, and rightfully so. Social media has created new normal for ‘stardom’, fans want to see you on the big screen and tweet you about it after. If you aren’t accessible, you run the risk of being labeled irrelevant.

For the latter reasons and the new prosumer will continue to rise in popularity creating almost cult like followings in no time. Many musicians and A-list actors glamour to hang around the new prosumer who epitomizes cool and is self-made. No PR, no agent, no shirt…right King Bach.

It is the new prosumer, who need only, point, shoot and post to capture the eyes and hearts of billions who has true power. Many corporate brands are also catching onto this trend trying to ink exclusive deals with the new flock of content creators who blog, write, shoot/direct video, do graphic/animation work and much more. But the truth is the new prosumer doesn’t need them.

While many argue that these creators don’t own the rights to their content and rely on these social platforms to share (creating an intellectual property nightmare), the reality is that for those able to properly leverage their brands social media presents an unprecedented opportunity for revenue creation. The internet abounds with stories of models being paid upwards of US$20,000 per Instagram post promoting products (of course if your name ends with Kardashian, the difference is an increase of one order of magnitude).

Personal branding will perhaps become the most important aspect of our digital lives in the future as more and more individuals share their lives, competences and skills online. The content created will get more elaborate as people begin taking these platforms more seriously. Want to work with Michael Bay…he may just check out your Vines and YouTube channel to see what your camera skills are like. The game has changed and so have the players and the rule book has been thrown out like last night’s stale pepperoni pizza…

ok… maybe I did take one bite before trashing it.

Social media is as disruptive a force as was the internet 20 years ago. People are connecting at unimaginable speeds and scope, businesses are being built, relationships formed and content shared. These YouTube statistics make the latter clear:

  • 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute, or one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second.
  • Over 4 billion videos are viewed a day
  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube

Opportunities are seemingly endless. You like knitting mittens for your kittens? Make a video blog, publish it, build a following through innovative social media marketing and pretty soon you will see there is an audience willing to watch and buy. Want to create a TV show or movie, screw Holly and Bolly, push it through YouTube, host it on Vimeo and charge a digital admission ticket. While you decide, i’ll take my own advice. I’m off to shoot a periscope video, wish me luck.