What do Chris Brogan, Lady Gaga, Alyssa Milano and Carlos Whittaker all have in common? That’s right: they’re all social media rock stars.
No surprise there. [If you don’t know who Carlos Whittaker is, you will in a minute.] Neither will you be surprised when I tell you that they accomplished this feat in a world where visibility and presence is ridiculously short. In other words, if they’re not seen, they’re not famous. The same holds true for you, too.
The One Word That Sums Up Social Media Fame
Maybe you want to be a blogging don…or a Facebook guru…or a Twitter mastermind with a following that rivals the population of a large city. How do you get there? Good question. If you summed up all the books on the topic…if you pooled together all the blog posts…all the tweets and Facebook fan pages… You’d come up with this one word that is the silver bullet to social media fame: ubiquity.
What is ubiquity? It means simply being everywhere at all times. Well, you certainly won’t won’t exercise the same kind of ubiquity as, say, God, but you can exercise the ubiquity of a Lady Gaga. Or Chris Brogan. Or Carlos Whittaker. And get some red carpet treatment.
Who the Hell Is Carl Whittaker?
Long ago I used to run a blog called Fallen and Flawed. It was a quick-and-dirty guide to the Christian faith. During my tenure with that project I naturally ran in Christian social media circles. That was my first run in with Carl Whitaker. Carl Whitaker is a musician. A worship leader for a church. He owned an iPhone, ran a blog and tweeted. I started following him.
My first impressions of Carlos weren’t good. I have to say, I unfairly wrote him off, but I kept following him. And following him. And following him. Carlos was a chronic tweeter. He was a chronic blogger. And he constantly threw up videos on YouTube. My only thought was he was insanely vein. Stuck up. In fact, he used to get a lot of grief. You could easily track his emotional and spiritual condition through his social media use.
Then it happened.
The Call We All Want to Get
I don’t care who you are: you want to be famous. You want to be popular. Approved of. Loved. And we all crave doing something that will get us on national TV. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Whittaker. One of the videos he posted to YouTube was of his little boy singing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” That in itself is pretty lame.
It’s when Carlos told his adopted son that he was a boy and that it was impossible to be a “single lady” the kid cried. And cried. That small emotional meltdown rolled up the YouTube views and eventually got the attention of the people at the Today Show. They sent a camera crew to Whittaker’s home and he subsequently appeared on national TV.
The cool part of this story is that Whittaker’s son is adopted, which gave them a national platform to promote adoption. Since then, Whittaker’s career has soared. Whittaker is a good example of a niche superstar. While he’s no Lady Gaga, he’s on top of the game in his space.
This Is Where I Come Clean With You
I promised you a dirty little secret about social media fame–and it wasn’t ubiquity. Ubiquity is the state you must achieve. How you get there is a totally different story. And that’s where the dirty little secret comes in. Fame isn’t free. It doesn’t grow on trees. And you won’t find it any other place except in the realm of hard work.
I know. “Hard work” is a four letter word. But it’s something you can’t avoid. Anybody who’s at the top of the social media game–whether it’s the 25 Women Who Rock Social Media or good ol Carlos Whittaker–got there at a price… And that price is nothing other than sweat equity.
But here’s the good news. ANYBODY can invest in sweat equity. Anybody can tweet like mad. Post like a machine. And churn out videos at a breakneck speed. It’s not withheld from you for reasons of race, class, gender or ability. Jon Morrow is a great example. He’s a quadriplegic who worked his way to the top. That means you no longer have excuses. So what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and get to work. The social media red carpet beckons.