Even if you aren’t a fan of the endless cat clips and wipeout videos on YouTube, you have to admit the site has given us a new platform to express ourselves. The odds are still tipping against you, but if you really wanted to, you could become an online celebrity. All the tools are there: a YouTube account to upload your videos, social media like Facebook and Twitter to promote yourself and blogging sites like Tumblr or Wordpress to advertise. It’s no wonder that regular people are gaining fame on the internet at an alarmingly fast rate. It allows even the unlikeliest of heroes, such as Stanford University graduate Issa Rae, a stage to perform.
Rae’s genius comes to us in the form of a successful web series called The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, or ABG, which is streamed on YouTube. Tired of stereotypes and unequal representation, Rae began the show online as a way to reach a more diversified and specific audience. What began as a small, low-budget production eventually spiralled into a budding internet success through the power of social media. Each episode averages 150 000 views and the show has nearly 20 000 fans on Facebook and 8000 followers on Twitter.
The entire show is based around fan interest and donations, including a campaign on Kickstarter that raised over $56 000 for production costs. And this was all done through Twitter, Facebook and word-of-mouth marketing over the internet.
Even though the campaign is over, you can check out the ABG Kickstarter promo here:
There is no mainstream media involved in advertising and sponsoring. You won’t ever find an ad for ABG during the commercial break of Modern Family. But does it really matter? Are the lines of distinction between internet success and real-life success blurring? In a world where we gather to talk about that website we all visit or that clip we saw on YouTube, is there truly a huge difference?