In a modern world revolutionized by technology, one can only expect attention to be needed more than ever. The internet and social media are so crucial to this new converged modern era of technology and we can’t discuss these two industries without talking about millennials.
A global population of over 4.5 billion people now use the internet, with social media users surpassing the 3.8 billion mark. With almost 60 percent of the world’s population online, the very definition of attention has to be questioned or at least mentioned.
Recent trends suggest that over half of the world’s total population will use social media by the middle of this year. Social status is gradually loosing its collar as the millennials of today aren’t as passionate as their parents about what colour of collar they have in their job description, some don’t even care about the collar itself.
The number of people you have interested in your social life has slowly but surely proven to be just enough to establish someone’s relevance in the society. With platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, the trend of influencer status can now be monetized, utilized to create businesses and empower families.
The society itself is now a bye-product of the internet and the power of being a social media influencer cannot be overemphasized. Their ability to command the adoration, patronage and reputation from their followers can confidently be valued as social status. The higher your follower count, the more verified your influencer status in society.
According to the Center for Generation Kinetics, 45% of Gen Z follows more than 10 influencers on social media and 10% follow 50 or more. Also, a research by ad agency RPA discovered that out of a choice of fame, power or belonging, 58% of Gen Z chose power as the most desirable trait, defining it as “having the ability to direct or influence the behavior of others.”
The importance of a huge following in gaining the validation from your peers is so valuable today. Millennials now turn to their smartphones for their sense of belonging, and the number of people in your notifications inadvertently determines if you’re worthy of status or not. Discoverability online has placed more value on the fanbase of a person, instead of on real life qualities and character.
The odds of your success and importance in today’s golden era can now be fostered by your online presence and following. With everyone chasing the stats instead of the collars, drawing a conclusion on why a huge following is a symbol of social status wouldn’t be far fetched.
Social media has proven to be the new global economy for the millennial generation. About 90% of Americans between 18–29 use social media. The heavy presence of this generation on social media has definitely led to a shift in where the attention really is. Money has always followed attention, and in today’s world attention can now be virtual and still remain as real as possible.
Screen time and apps have been so interwoven into millennial life to addictive extremes. These extremes have gradually led to social media anxiety caused by the new and delicate social status system in the online community.
Last year, people spent 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media every day, across devices. This means that about 1 of every 3 hours spent on the internet is on social platforms, and with the average user having 8.3 different social accounts, the hours are likely going to increase.
Attention and virality coupled with the monetization platforms now increasingly available (Stripe, Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay) have nurtured a new kind of wealth in today’s society, and millennials are at the for front of this.
Stars like Caroline Calloway, Olivia Rouyre and Makenna Kelly, all stormed unto the scene from social media. They earned their notoriety by sharing their everyday lives, thoughts and personalities on the internet.
Platforms like Patreon take the crowdfunding phenomenon of Kickstarter and GoFundMe to another dimension by empowering fans and supporters to directly support their favourite content creators and influencers.
The content driven crowdfunding platform has reported over 3 million active “patrons” who pay a monthly fee, usually only a few dollars, to access whatever premium their preferred creators offer. Subscription to newsletters, Instagram perks and other forms of premium access are some of the offerings made available by creators. Influencers from Instagram like Caroline Calloway also capitalize on the genius of Patreon, amassing a really promising following.
In 2019, a Schwab study reported that 49% of Millennials and 44% of Gen Z are spending money on experiences because of social media, much higher than the combined average of 34%. WP Engine also discovered that 73% of Gen Z would purchase a product or service based on a social media recommendation.
Funny videos, vines, vlogs, and trendy online content have also swept the scene, with the young content creators on Tik Tok, Youtube and Facebook almost monopolizing this new market. The search for “funny and entertaining” content is the fastest-growing reason for using social. With 84% of people that have access to the internet and 97% of digital consumers using social media, the millennial money is here to stay.
99% of users in 2019 accessed social media on mobile, and with this portability, addiction to smartphones have become the curse of this generation, with Millennials and Gen Z being the most vulnerable.
This social media influencer culture is one which the millennial generation have wholeheartedly capitalized on. The quest for relevance “clout”, in today’s world has led people most especially the millennials to ignore the negative signs of chasing follower counts at the expense of one’s well being and personal life.
Now more than ever the use of online communities like ‘OnlyFans’ by millennials to attain social status and monetized following is rapidly increasing. With people aged 16–24 spending almost 3 hours a day on social media globally, the millennial eye is finding it difficult to be satisfied with content.
Furthermore, people aged 16–24 also have an average of 9.4 social accounts. This consumption level is gradually creating an unhealthy social environment where the pressure to keep up is increasing. The content creator is lured into new platforms to explore the addicted eyes of the millennials, and the millennial keeps searching, in the hopes of satisfaction.
This is why follower count is so important these days, because the more eyes you have on you, the more you can keep up on the massive amount of platforms. The social status today is definitely changing, and the likes, views and comments from followers are what makes everything seem worthwhile.