Anytime you start getting a decent amount of traction in the viewership department, you’ll inevitably reach a threshold where the brand version of you starts to completely take a life of it’s own and morph into something vastly different than the actual you.
What do I know about this? Plenty. By now my name has been on hundreds of billboards, countless event flyers, has regularly been seen in various magazines, was unceremoniously attached to one of the biggest celebrity sex scandals in the past decade, has garnered tens of millions of online users and is quite literally used as the namesake of an entire company of people. To say that I’m long seasoned to being talked about in third person — to my face, is a huge understatement. It’s a little like someone yelling your name, who was actually talking to the table behind you.
So, that being said, I’ve got a few bits of advice for people who find themselves in similar situations.
Managing Your Social Media Celebrity: Say you have 100,000 followers who are followers solely for the fact that they want to see you be sexy, successful or dangerous (or all three, you James Bond!). It’s pretty safe to say that you don’t wake up in a tuxedo each morning, jump in your Aston Martin and basejump off of a tower, but to your most ardent sexy / successful / dangerous viewers: you do. That’s what they expect, that’s why they follow.
So now you’re stuck with trying to balance your love for Netflix and Cheetos with the fact that you lead a double life, apparently as a secret agent. It is with this that I can’t recommend enough that less is more. Assuming your social media is something that is actually making you money and is relevant to your career (otherwise, who cares), you’ll not want to use it as a soapbox for political opinion, pet photos and a barrage of selfies that are inconsistent with your being 007. Cultivate your online character, post only a reasonably scheduled amount of what supports your character’s narrative and then just live your actual life out of the spotlight.
Staying You: The fact that hundreds, or even millions of people care about what YOU are doing is both exciting and kind of crappy at the same. The good is that you now have a voice, the bad is that a lot of the people you come in contact with are now looking at you somewhat differently. It’s been my experience that some of your friends will never be able to properly deal with this (it’s just to weird for them), whereas others will be able to keep you grounded and able to stay who you are.
Don’t Become A Total Asshat: I once had someone who, while I was never close with, I somewhat considered a friend for a number of years. We’d do lunches, see each other at clubs and occasionally text back and forth with questions and ideas. He was a likable enough guy. From 2005 to 2013, I lost count of the number of business concepts he’d boldly announce that he was launching, with none ever coming to fruition or even getting off the dock. Clearly he had an entrepreneurial drive within him, and clearly he wasn’t very good at it. He instead spent his time bouncing from nightlife job to nightlife job, usually only staying at one for a matter of weeks or months. Never any longer than that, and never with any grand reputation of success behind any one position.
Eventually he launched a WordPress site, I’ll be nice and call it NightlifeRoyalty.com, which occasionally blogged about things in the Vegas nightclub industry. Being something I was very familiar with, I kept an eye on what he was doing, but never really looked at him as any kind of competition or threat.