Celebrities come in all shapes and sizes, at least in modern times. The internet has done an interesting job in changing the playing field for celebrities; no longer is movie, major league sports, music, or television stardom the standard to be considered a celebrity. The past decade has bred an all new category of celebrity: the social media celebrity. It has been an interesting paradigm shift in the mindset of fans across the globe.
Going viral can have quite a few different meanings, but is often associated with a phase analogous to the ‘15 minutes of fame.’ The connotation of going viral seems to be contingent with a relatively short lived cromulent, perhaps due to a funny trending YouTube video or opportunistic tweet. There is a whole other breed of those that go viral, with long-term and sustainable effects… not to mention far more profound impact.
The denotation of going viral has a more firm grounding in reality and purpose. Those that “go viral with a purpose” often do so for more intentional (the connotation example of going viral above is often accidental) purposes. For the more selfishly-inclined, going viral can have extremely positive financial implications: the ad revenue alone from YouTube video views is enough for a financial windfall many dream of. However, this short-sighted money grab is often not sustainable, and those that both go, and stay, viral, must have a quality in their level of content that retains their audience, especially in today’s goldfish market.
There are some visionaries that have identified these market conditions and created the conditions for success to “make it.” David Michigan is a fantastic example of an individual that had this type of foresight, as well as a powerful purpose: elevating others. David has over four million followers between his Instagram and Facebook, which would impress many; but we’d argue is far from the most inspiring thing about him. Unlike many social media influencers that are (in rare cases, transparently) in it for sheer financial gain, David’s mission is the reason he has his following: David lives to make the lives of others better.
Many that go viral on social media for the “right reasons” provide some type of education, advice, or inspiration. A very popular area of inspirational social media content is the area of fitness, particularly the seemingly unprecedented growth of Instagram fitness models. Whether these Instagram fitness models have their followings due to gawking eyes (looking at you, fitness female Instagram models) or their following is due to some greater form of substance in content is the clear dividing line in sustainability and impact. While David certainly has his fair share of gawking eyes (being allowed to assist in Miss Tattoo France and Miss Tattoo World certainly wouldn’t be a privilege given to a man deemed less attractive, and certainly likely not given to a non-model) David’s following is rooted in, and sustainable due to, the quality of his content and his level of impact placed upon others.
For those not attracted to the male sex, if David exclusively posted photos of himself working out, David’s social media content would be irrelevant. David maintains a large following of people that don’t gawk over his photos, as David inspires those to mirror his physical fitness and health success by teaching them how.
Going viral on social media requires doing something others aren’t doing, or doing well. David identified one key gap in the fitness social media category: a lack of a comprehensive approach to overall health. General fitness and bodybuilding social media stars are a dime a dozen, so what sets David apart is his holistic approach: David facilitates life coaching sessions that can help anyone achieve results in areas from fitness to mindfulness. An increase in mindfulness has quantifiable positive implications for your level of physical fitness.
Whether you are trying to get back in, or to a new level, of “shape,” David defines “shape” differently than your local fitness gyms advertisement. The level of “shape” you’re in isn’t just about how fast you can run or how much weight you can lift. According to David, “I define health as a multi-faceted topic that requires a focus on several areas in order to achieve the highest level of being that I know anyone and everyone is capable of.” David’s following has seen the power of mindfulness in fitness and constantly yearns for more tips from their self-professed guru, ensuring not just that David has “gone viral” but will maintain his celebrity status.
The differences between those that have their 15 minutes of fame and those that keep their fame in social media are clear: having a purpose and an impact is critical. While one might catch a windfall of a few thousand dollars for their viral cat video, the money, and more importantly, the fulfillment, of following the path of someone who goes viral by providing motivational speeches that help others is certainly a more interesting path.