Celebrities were once thought of as movie stars, TV personalities, or other well-known faces that could only be seen on the big screen. The public had no real connection or contact with these starts besides seeing or hearing them in interviews, and their private lives were kept…well, private. Today’s stars, however, live their lives in the public eye and have regular communication with fans, basically boosting their popularity not only through their movies and shows, but also through their online marketing strategies and use of social media like Facebook and Twitter.
The movie stars of today’s generation need not rely on their big or small screen career to get noticed, they can just learn some savvy tricks of online marketing and create their fame all by themselves. With the rise in popularity of reality TV, viewers today feel like they already know the celebrity and consider them like one of their friends. What was once an out-of-reach, high-profile star is now a “neighborhood friend” and can be accessed via Twitter or can share their personal photos on Facebook. Celebrities today can even be born directly from their social media use, without ever having stepped foot in Hollywood or onto a movie set. Regular, everyday people can instantly become stars when their YouTube video goes viral, their tweets are retweeted to millions of followers, or they accrue thousands of fans on networking sites. The stars of tomorrow don’t need an agent. They don’t need a manager. They’ve got the tools they need and the know-how to lay out a full-fledged online marketing campaign. So what has happened to our elusive and private red carpet celebrities?
Maybe it’s just that the technology has finally caught up to the culture that today’s fans thrive on. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Twitter were around in the 1950’s. Would Marilyn Monroe send out Twitpics to her followers of her on Playboy photoshoots? Would a Facebook Locations reveal that Frank Sinatra was at his favorite Las Vegas casino with @TheRatPack? Maybe James Dean or Marlon Brando would post a weekly video blog on the Internet, where fans could log on and watch a live broadcast. It’s hard to say what would happen if today’s technologies had been around half a century ago, but it’s easy to see how drastically things have changed, all thanks to the Internet and some stealthy marketing tactics.
Some see the wave of social media and the Internet as a good thing, as a platform where we can all stay connected and maintain long-distance relationships. Sure, it does all of that, and it also exposes us on a level that opens our lives up to millions of people. While a lot of people, including today’s celebrities, can use this as a free promotional tool that puts them in touch with their fans, others believe that it exposes them a little too much, and can actually hurt their career. I don’t think things can ever get back to the way they were, where the stars of Old Hollywood were rarely seen off the set of a movie or incessantly tweeting their whereabouts; it is clear that times have changed and that today’s celebs are quite “social”, to say the least.