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Are Celebrities thriving on platforms like YouTube and TikTok?

Stars and Cross-Pollination in the age of Coronavirus


According to MerchDope, over 1 billion people use YouTube. TikTok currently has 800 million monthly active users. 49% of the world's total population use social media. Knowing this colossal number, it's no wonder stars are tapping into these platforms to expand their image and hopefully increase their popularity.


Obviously, because of the pandemic, a large number of celebrities are out of work. The studios are shut, the executive buildings are closed, the media industry is at a standstill. Production companies are rolling out the final episodes and moving film releases to on-demand services. With all this free time, it seems like a smart idea for celebs to use social media to their advantage.


The first big name that I found to be endorsing social media (before the pandemic) was Will Smith. Will is extremely active on Instagram, sharing a variety of filmed content to his 45 million followers. On TikTok, he has over 23 million followers. His YouTube channel, which has over 8 million subscribers, boasts video quality that is leaps and bounds ahead of other creators - though he is helped by a team of editors and a camera crew. Currently, he's working on a Snapchat original series ("Will From Home"), where he posts new episodes of his life in quarantine, with guest appearances from his famous friends and family, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Smith is the perfect example of a star who has used cross-pollination effectively and cleverly utilized these platforms to reach and develop his audience.



So how are other personalities making use of social media in the time of Coronavirus?


American actor John Krasinski created a web series on Youtube titled "Some Good News", a news programme sharing good news exclusively. The channel currently has over 2 million subscribers and the first episode has 17 million views. Dwayne Johnson's TikTok has over 24 million followers. One of my personal favourites is actor Leslie Jordan. His Instagram has become a hit during lockdown, sharing funny stories which he calls "his job right now".


These names are not even a handful of celebrities who are finding a wider reach of fame on social media, especially during this pandemic. While some are purely for entertainment purposes, like Jordan, others are working hard to ensure that their influence can bring some good to the world. Krasinski's news series has raised millions of dollars for different charities and helping those in need during Covid-19. Just recently, Bill Murray and Guy Fieri live-streamed a competition to make the best plate of nachos which was part of Fieri's campaign to raise money for his Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.


In a weird way, the pandemic has allowed stars to grow despite being isolated in their homes. I guess it does depend on resources, for instance, Smith's filming set in his garage for his Snapchat series isn't just a camera and a tripod. Nonetheless, it does prove that sometimes all you really need is a phone and a good idea to get started. Isn't this how most social media influencers and personalities are constructed? With just their phone and some creative wit. Jay Baer says that content online should "anger, inspire or make people laugh. If it's not doing one of those things, why are you posting it?" Those three things play a huge part in being a celebrity so, of course, these famous names that are exploring social media in an imaginative way are bound to succeed.


Looking into the future and not knowing where the entertainment industry will be, it could be these celebrities who are well-versed in all mediums of media who will truly thrive. We are not going to see conventional filmmaking for quite a while so having that ability to create and promote your own content might put these heavyweights ahead of those who perhaps haven't explored social media in a similar way.


We already live in an age where you could suggest that celebs can't be defined to one strict area: they have to be multi-faceted and engage actively with the world to truly succeed in reaching stardom. I believe that because of Coronavirus, stars will evolve even further to become a hybrid version of what it means to earn the name 'celebrity'.


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