Jim Kukral recently wrote a rather entitled “The Death of the A-List”. The article by Jim Kukral, an online marketer, postulates that people are now seeing that Web 2.0 celebrities are just normal people who became very good at self-promotion. This will open the doors up to what Clay Shirky would call “everybody”. Apparently, Hugh MacLeod discussed this matter with Clay and you can read their thoughts on Hugh’s blog.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve known some web 2.0 “celebrities”, and some of them I really like. What I think people are realizing though is that many of these celebrities often become this way because 1.) they have an absolute focus on obtaining as many followers as possible and 2.) these followers believe that knowing or being associated with that person will also earn them a status of fame. It’s like hanging out with that boring, popular girl in high school. It gets you noticed, but it probably won’t accomplish much.
Why do I think the “A-List” will and should disappear?
The online space has the power to equalize the entire world. The barriers for entry in terms of exposure have never been lower. We have a medium allows us to present information in an interactive way. There is no soap box. There is no corporate entity telling us what to do. Information is delivered not from the powerful leaders who can afford to push out information, but from a cloud of people with different perspectives, experiences, and skill sets.
The web 2.0 early adopters showed us how to use the tools so we have to give them credit for opening the door. However, the sooner we encourage people to go beyond the simple vanity of new media, the sooner we can attract the vast numbers of people who are actually set to improve our world by communicating with these advanced tools.
What would this look like? Imagine the following scenarios:
1.) Instead of just Robert Scoble Qiking everything, victims of natural disasters like Katrina Qik what is happening during and after a storm. How much easier would it be to mobilize people?
2.) Imagine all the world’s major AIDS researchers forming a Ning group with AIDS victims and others involved in the fight against AIDS.
3.) Imagine watching an world renown economist Jeffrey Sachs giving a lecture to anyone who wants to see it using Viddler. Watchers could leave comments on the timestream that Sachs would actually answer. Watchers could also engage in a discussion in comments, or could chat about the discussion using Oovoo or a chat room.
The possibilities are limitless. I say, let the 21st century Renaissance begin.