My kids don’t even watch T.V. anymore; they’d be on YouTube instead. They have their favorite channels, and watch the “new celebrities” who are just like them – not some famous performer, but real kids doing real stuff with other kids in collaborations at times, or just commenting on a cool video game, or showing new moves on a skateboard.
When I was growing up, the Hollywood superstars were idolized and celebrated with feet cemented into Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. That still happens today, but I predict it will loose its value in the younger generation’s eyes. They don’t care about “Bradjangelina’s” latest adoption, they could care less if Ellen Degeneres hosted the Oscars, and I’m sure they’d ask, “Who’s Steven Speilberg?”
There is a cultural shift going on in today’s youth. A shift from glorifying these “other” people into glorifying themselves. It is a completely different viewpoint. Why should these kids “worship” celebrities when they can be worshipped? There are hundreds of YouTubers who have over one-million subscribers and are making money at it. Some are as young as 14 years old! They’re selling personal t-shirts, and have become young entrepreneurs. Frankly, that impresses me! If they are going to be on YouTube doing stuff, why not create a small business and show the world your talents? They get direct access to the audience – no more middle man like agents or talent companies. They go directly to you – let the audience decide. This gives them a sense of empowerment, but it also does something else: it creates a sense of community.
Too many of our children sit at home alone, without any other kids to play with in their neighborhoods, so they go online. Where are all the kids? The streets are empty. Perhaps they’re in day-care centers or after school programs since both parents work. They get home in time for dinner, and then run off to karate practice. What little time they do have left, they go online and meet other kids with similar interests. They create a sense of belonging and with every new “like” or “subscriber.” They feel validated, cared for, and some even feel a sense of being loved.
Where will this all lead? I think the days of the BIG stars in Hollywood will fade, and that this new generation will see their value and their talent. Gone will be the days when Robert Downey Jr. gets all the limelight!
On a side note, YouTube was first created in 2005 by three former Paypal employees who then sold it to Google for 1.65 billion a little more than a 1.5 years after they created it.