In a recent interview with Fast Company, Ashton Kutcher – the celebrity-turned-Internet-mogel – said that privacy is more valuable than celebrity. This makes sense to me.
On the Internet everyone is a celebrity. I think Rebecca Blood was the first person to introduce this concept to me when she said Generation Y manages itself like celebrities online, so privacy is not necessary for them. I think the proof of this is that gen Y prefers communicating via social media rather than email; news travels faster, via larger groups of people.
Marketers and publicists have made a science out of getting benefits from being a celebrity—sponsors, a fun network, great opportunities that lead to even greater opportunities. In the age of transparency Gen Y can see how to do this and they don’t need permission from MGM or Capitol Records to act like a celebrity.
I am constantly telling people to get a strong career by managing their professional profile online . The way to a solid career is to be known for what you’re good at. All good workers are celebrities—a far cry from Horatio Alger and the Protestant work ethic, but a much more relevant trope for the new millennium.
Pace University reports that 99 percent of Gen Y is on Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn, and Redbook reports that one out of five moms is blogging. In this era, if you’re at all relevant in this day and age, you can google your name, and you will find photos, quotes, and some sort of history of your life, in a few lines or a few million lines. If you already have everything that being a celebrity can get you, then you can be private.
I am struck by the way Prince William and Kate Middleton handle the media in England.