What President Obama and “President Fallon” Know About Social Media That the Rest of Us Need to LearnBen Parr
Obama gets it and future presidents will get it. And in traditional TV, no one gets it more than our president, Jimmy Fallon. President Fallon totally gets it.”
That’s not somebody talking about energy policy or the debt ceiling. That’sAccess Hollywood host Billy Bush on the power of social media (where, truly, Jimmy Fallon may very well be president). Bush joined the Vanity Fair Social Club panel “#NowTrending: The Business of Social Media,” but before the panel even began, he used a few spare moments to participate in a tweet-up, taking questions from inside the room and around the country. The results, like Twitter itself, were an interesting mix of personal insights and casual asides. Our favorites:
Which is as good a segue into the panel as we could want, right? The talk began immediately after Bush’s tweet-up ended and was moderated by Vanity Fair West Coast executive editorKrista Smith, who welcomed Bush, Shira Lazar of What’s Trending, Andrew Adashekfrom Twitter and former Mashable co-editor (and author of the new book Captivology) Ben Parr to kick around just what social media means today and how it is changing the pop culture, entertainment and traditional media landscape.
Here’s some news that you probably already know: social media is big business—and the big media companies all want their piece of the action. At one point Adashek recalled a wistful conversation with a fellow worker in the digital trenches in which they remembered the days in which the “social media team” at media companies could do pretty much whatever they wanted with no one noticing: “This guy told me, ‘This sucks now because they’re making money off it and they care.’”
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, YouTube, and platform du jour Snapchat—it seems like you have to be on all of them all the time. Bush says he’s still learning about social networking but realizes its benefits and potential. He also grudgingly admits to letting it seep into his off-camera life: “When I go home, I live-tweet The Bachelor—how embarrassing is that? But I do it all the way through and I keep going with the jokes and comments and so on.”
Social media didn’t happen overnight—“Each year you saw a change happen,” says Lazar, citing the launch of YouTube 10 years ago as a pivotal point—but it is clearly where millions of eyes, including a lot of younger ones, are focused now. As we saw at Monday’s panel on YouTube stars, teens are idolizing their heroes at that platform more than traditional media stars. “Television is still king,” says Parr, but when it comes to social media stars, he adds, “It’s all about the community being built around these people. It’s an identity being part of the communities that spring up around these people.”
Following the panel, the Social Club was host to a happy hour sponsored by Giorgio Armani Beauty and UNICEF to kick off to their annual Acqua for Life initiative. On hand was Jason Morgan, the face of Armani’s new campaign for its classic AcquaDiGio men’s fragrance and also an advocate for the initiative. This is real, serious stuff: Armani Beauty is selling blue bracelets at every retail outlet for $1, with each dollar providing 40 days of clean water to a child in areas where water is not readily accessible. Morgan also posed in the Social Club photo booth with guests, and each photo uploaded with the hashtag #acquaforlife sent a dollar courtesy ofVanity Fair to the UNICEF campaign as well. See? Social media is a force for good, too.