Just a few weeks ago, no one outside 13-year-old Rebecca Black’s home town had even heard of her. But then along came her video Friday, through a small production company that, again, most of us had never heard of. Suddenly, Rebecca Black is one of the most watched faces in the world. Yes, she has on-camera confidence that would rival that of any Disney kid, but there’s no denying that it is mainly the overly basic tune — or autotune — and the incredibly inane lyrics that keep pulling in the viewers:
It’s Friday, Friday.
Gotta get down on Friday.
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend.
Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday.
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend.
Partyin’, partyin’, partyin’, partyin’. Fun, fun, fun, fun,
Lookin’ forward to the weekend.
Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday.
Today is Friday, Friday.
We, we, we so excited, we so excited,
We gunna have a ball today.
Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes afterwards.
I don’t want this weekend to end.
Friday has gone viral, to use the marketing term that has itself gone viral, already passing the astounding number of 120 million on YouTube, with another million or more still being added per day.
Why should you care? Because it demonstrates how much social media has changed how you and I can reach the world. We as the general public have always only been able to read the stories and view the shows that were deemed interesting enough for us by a very small number of people sitting in newspaper, magazine, music, movie, and television boardrooms. Rising stars, budding authors, undiscovered journalists, political commentators, and countless wannabes of every sort imaginable had to work their way up slowly from the bottom, trying to win the hearts of those influential few, sometimes by hiring expensive agents and promotions teams who themselves were fighting with others to get in front of those few beings who had the power.
Social media has shifted that power from a select few, to countless small agencies or production companies, and to the video and cellphone cameras of everyday people with an Internet connection. Ultimately, it has even given power to you and I as we watch, read and share what we find through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and wherever else we might hang out. There was no worldwide media campaign or celebrity backing for the Friday video. Rebecca worked with a production company that knew how to put together and package a video, and then, thanks to social media, they were able to take the results of their efforts directly to the world’s viewers rather than start to put more effort and money into getting the video approved by a major network or label.
Susan Boyle and Paul Potts became famous in Britain through the TV show Britain’s Got Talent, but social media made them worldwide stars. A then unknown Justin Bieber started without any TV shows or production companies at all, simply creating and posting videos of himself singing. And more videos, songs and blog posts are uploaded every day, for people to find, add their comments, and share with their own networks, whether those contacts are big names within the entertainment industry or just friends on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other channels.
No one knows at this point if Rebecca’s greatest success has already arrived or if she’s just getting started, but whatever happens and however impressive her numbers may be, no one should overlook the real standout performance given by social media itself. Social media has made it possible for these stars — and many others yet to be discovered — to reach a world that otherwise would likely never have heard, or known what it was missing.
So if you have found yourself chuckling at Rebecca and her video, feel free to join the millions of singers, dancers, producers, agents, dreamers, hard-working business owners, and creative teams who are trying to do better. Thanks to the potential of social media, it’s actually possible that you could.