Have you checked out the latest issue of Wired Magazine (August 2008)? It features Julia Allison on the cover with title, Get Internet Famous! (Even If You're Nobody) - Julia Allison And The Secrets of Self-Promotion. If ever there was a great preamble to the book I am writing (Six Pixels of Separation - Grand Central Publishing, Fall 2009), this is it.
"Allison is the latest, and perhaps purest, iteration of the Warholian ideal: someone who is famous for being famous. Like graffiti writers who turned their signatures into wild-style gallery pieces, she has made the process of self-promotion into its own freaky art form. Traditionally, it takes an army of publicists, a well-connected family, or a big-budget ad campaign to make this kind of splash. But Allison has done it on her own and on the cheap, armed only with an insatiable need for attention and a healthy helping of Web savvy.
It's easy to dismiss Allison as little more than a rank narcissist — and many of her vocal online critics are happy do just that. But come on, admit it: You've spent a good half hour trying to pick out the most flattering photo to upload to your MySpace page. You struggle to come up with the mot juste to describe your Facebook status. You keep a bank of self-portraits on Flickr or an online scrapbook on Tumblr or a running log of your daily musings on Blogger. You strategically court the gatekeepers at StumbleUpon or Digg. You compare the size of your Twitter-subscriber rolls to those of your friends. You set up Google Alerts to tell you whenever a blogger mentions your name. See? Self-promotion is no longer solely the domain of egotists and professional aspirants. Anyone can be a personal branding machine."
It's important to note that this is always the first phase of a new movement - discovery.
We're going to get beyond discovery (I would argue that it's already happening). We're coming to the point where individuals are using this channel with focus, precision and to build business. We're also moving ever-so-quickly to the point where individuals are going to start having the same power and influence as major corporate brands. There is not only a democratization of who can publish what to a global audience, the price of doing it has dropped to almost nothing. The audience's job moving forward is going to be their ability to censor out the garbage and zone in on what interest them. It's not about five mass media powerhouses controlling the same message to millions of people, our new world is about millions of individual messages being sent to various and varied groups of individual's interest.
If you thought you had a hard time reaching your target markets with traditional mass advertising, these new channels are not going to make it any easier. The biggest difference is that after all of the hard work you're going to put into finding the audience, it will be one that is laser-focused.
You can read the article from Wired Magazine right here (but, as always, I highly recommend grabbing a print copy of this magazine for this weekend on the patio) - Wired Magazine - Internet Famous: Julia Allison and the Secrets of Self-Promotion.
In other (and very cool) Wired Magazine news, they've launched some awesome functionality on the website. The Wired How-To Wiki embraces the wisdom of crowds by turning many articles into a wiki. Now everyone (yes, that includes you and I) can edit Wired stories along with the Editors. I love this.