It is quite noteworthy how the private worlds of the celebrities that once eluded the knowledge of the public have now come as close to us as that of our neighbour! Peeking into the lives of stars is no longer an aspiration that many of us have in our minds for such information is available by bucket loads, most of it being churned out by the PR machinery of the so called stars themselves.
Why has this change occurred? Why does every celebrity, no matter how big or small feel the need to connect with his or her audiences all the time? Even for those stars who still believe that they need to maintain a veil over their private lives are invariably dragged into the public eye ( Read- Alok nath, Manmohan Singh) . As with all major changes that have occurred over the past decade, the answer to these questions too lies in deeper concepts of a technology led super connected smaller world.
There are several changes, both major and minor that led to this bigger change. Before the advent of tools like Facebook, twitter, blogs and you tube the only way you could know about your favourite personality was through the newspaper or through gossip shows on TV. With more media than ever before available to people, more and more information regarding possibly everything under the sun was being shared, discussed and analysed over the internet. These tools brought together more people from across geographies than was ever thought possible.
Anyone who wanted to create a buzz about anything, a product, service, event or even himself needed only to portray the same in a manner that would generate maximum visibility, digital media would take care of the rest. And mass visibility is what most eminent personalities crave for. That is how the need for publicity and the efficiency of the digital media to generate the same was brought together and the union resulted in synergies that were unheard of via any other medium.
We have come a long way from the initial blog writing days of celebrities. The journey moved from there to Facebook and twitter to even personalized websites, so much so that the medium that was earlier dominated by a few is now used by virtually all personalities. Out of sight is out of mind seems to be the mantra that is currently being followed. Where celebrities use the digital media to promote and publicise their every move, the public uses it to scrutinize and sometimes even criticize immensely personal decisions of a star???s life warranting to unwanted intrusion on privacy. This is not to say that such public scrutiny did not exist before but scope of the scanner has now widened to an unimaginable extent, all thanks to digital media.
So Hrithik Roshan professing his undying love for his wife Susanne even after their divorce or the promotion of the AAP brand of politics are all events that have gained mass traction due to the fact they were highlighted via some of the many forms of digital media. Digital media has made it possible for a citizen sitting on one end of the globe to be influenced by a personality who may be an ocean away from him or her.
With virtually anyone who is someone vying to get attention via digital media the obvious conclusion that one arrives is that almost all forms of digital media are now hugely cluttered with myriad attempts of someone somewhere trying to promote something.
So what do personalities the do to make sure they are seen and heard by their target audience, who will be different for each type of celebrity. The target for Obama???s election campaign for example would be quite different from the promotion of Taylor Swift???s new music album. But within each category there would be fierce competition as to who can grab the maximum eyeballs or have more followers (as said by twitterati). The need of the hour seems to be staying in the limelight while the means that are used to do so may not always be logical , sometimes bordering on downright irrational or morally offensive to someone else.
Consider something American actress Amanda Bynes tweeted, "Rihanna looks so ugly trying to be white" taking a direct pot shot at the singer's race or the tweet by American writer Bret Easton Hills that read "watching TV show Glee is like stepping into a puddle of HIV". The question here is as recipients of vast amounts of digital information do we really need such blasphemous content?
It is not all doom and gloom out there on the digital media platform. Senior politicians like LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj are effectively using blogs to stay connected to the nation. BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi took his social media outreach to an all new level when he held a live session on Google Hangouts. For a young country like India, there is no better way to reach its majority population than through the use of digital media.
Digital media is an extremely powerful tool, if in the right hands it can be exploited to gain enormous benefits. Who knows, the future may integrate the worlds of famous personalities and the common man to such an extent that it may blur all lines of difference between them.
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