The short answer is “not yet” – but the democratization of media is definitely moving forward. In a recent conversation with a major movie marketer, he told me that although one of his recent studio projects had 3 million Facebook fans, the movie did dismal box office business. On the other hand, we’re seeing more and more bloggers and social media mavens snagging big bucks in exchange for Twittering and Facebooking about products and projects. A 28 year old from Toronto named Casie Stewart earned a free flight to New Zealand based on her manic blogging. Other social media users are being rewarded with weekends in Vegas and other resort cities for pushing products or causes.
Apps like Klout, PeerIndex, and Twitalizer try to rate social media “influence” based on numbers and connections of followers. And companies are scanning these results to find people who can help them share their story. At Cooke Media Group, we’ve been doing some fascinating projects creating live online webcasts for clients, and mobilizing social media followers to important causes.
But does it directly translate to financial success? There’s not a lot of support for that hope, although these and other examples show me two things:
1. Significant numbers of people can become engaged in online conversations about products, people, and issues, which can spawn new ideas, trends, and even movements.
2. Anyone can now become an influencer. Blog, Twitter, or update your Facebook status enough – with interesting and focused content – and you’ll start to create a following.
What you do with that following is up to you…