Selling out via social?

What’s your social profile worth? Have you even thought about it? Is it growing in value? When you talk, do people listen?

With social reputation becoming more and more of a relevant form of currency, there are powers at play that are looking to exploit this new medium. In the past, it has all been about celebrity endorsement – getting the star of the day to put their name to a product. As the celebrity space becomes more and more distributed, thought the wonders of the increasingly social internet, a new generation of celebrities with social credibility are sprouting up.

The first online celeb to pop up through social is Tom Anderson; everyone’s first friend on MySpace. He, like it or not, was known if you were on MySpace. As time progressed and MySpace faded away, so did he. But now, with the resurgence of his profile on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, his reputation is again growing. He’s approachable, reads what you share with him, and according to Klout, has influence of almost 100K people. Klout understands social is potential currency, and is a platform aimed at measuring people’s online influence. According to Facebook, he has 1.2 Million subscribers who read his thoughts, but the smaller Klout number is based on how much he actually influences.

Now, there are many celebrities with roots from social, from tech circles (Mark Zuckerberg, Kevin Rose) to real mainstream – Justin Bieber, Rebecca Black, Perez Hilton; all started via social.

So, are their opinions worth anything? While not the traditional celebrity, they certainly have influence and people take their endorsement seriously. Perhaps fewer fans than your traditional celebrity, but in terms of identifying a niche, what these guys say can carry real weight. How much value can they add to a company if they say ‘check it out, it’s really cool’. And, enter Wahooly – a start-up that is aiming to give people with influence (yourself included, if you connect with enough people online) a chance to own stock in other start-ups to help get them off the ground and exposure. Essentially, companies are buying endorsements from regular people, which has potential to add a real sense of authenticity of an endorsement.

So, where is all this going? Does everyone have a price? When is it selling out, and when is it just a desire to help good ideas get off the ground (and getting a little kickback)?

I see a point in the future where what is said from a friend might just be an advert. It’s very gorilla-marketing gone social.


Steven Wright | Web Developer – MYOB