Remember Gary Turk’s “Look Up” – the viral video that bashed social media and millennials’ inattentiveness to their natural lives? I think I remember first seeing it on Twitter.
In sum, a sentimental narrator—British accent and all—reads a heartfelt poem that speaks to a millennial generation distracted by superficial intangibles like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—all the while missing out on their true potential to find love and happiness and all of that good stuff.
“I have 422 friends, yet I’m lonely,” Turk coos in his opening line.
By 2014, this path was well trodden; nonetheless, “Look Up” inspired a circle of millennials to lay down their devices and live a peaceful life sans the social media.
Sure enough, social media’s role transcends tallying artificial friends and reading lists on Buzzfeed. Currently, there’s $1 billion dollars of sponsored content on Instagram alone.
Danielle Bernstein, a 22-year-old fashion blogger, for example, is paid anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 per Instagram post. What qualifies her? She has 992,000 followers.
An audience of 992,000 Instagremlins, most of them interested in fashion, attracts clothing brands to advertise products on Ms. Bernstein’s account.
Because fashion bloggers routinely post pictures of their outfits, Ms. Bernstein’s sponsored content appears particularly subtle. Her job: wear clothes provided by her hiring company, snap a few pictures wearing the rags, then blast them out to her massive following. Her personalized product placement utilizes the trust she’s gained as a “real person” in comparison to other product placement efforts on TV or in movies.
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Ms. Bernstein noted that her annual income is in the mid-six figures range and that behind the curtain, so to speak, fashion brands negotiate stipulations preventing her from showcasing other brands for a specified amount of time.
Who knew social media could be so serious? Well, most of us by now.
Speaking of which, Gary Turk’s ode to offlinedness became viral as a result of social media, ironically enough. Regardless of the intended message, whether it’s endorsing clothes for money or vilifying the Internet for recognition, social will remain a valuable medium for making friends and money for a long time to come.
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