Teens Get Their 15 Minutes Of Fame
It's what teens are doing with their newfound celebrity status that is giving them a branding problem.
Social media is about being a "character." Like many Hollywood characters, the teen characters who are doing the bad, bizarre and outrageous capture the attention of fans and followers. Albeit not enduring fame, but elevated fame. On social media sites we see teens and alcohol. Teens and sex. Teens and drugs. On TV, they've shot someone. If they were a corporation, they would keep their crisis PR team working 24/7.
Wait! Isn't this generation of teenagers credited with being the most cause-oriented generation America has ever produced? Where are they on social media? Why haven't they reached "celebrity" status?
Let's start with "Who?"
- Emily-Anne Rigel is a 17-year-old linchpin, entrepreneur, go-getter, YouTuber. She's also the founder of WeStopHate, a non-profit organization that is a call to action to stop hate: stop hating on yourself, stop hating on others, stop letting others hate on you.
- Katie Stagliano, 12. As a third grader, grew a 40-pound cabbage that she donated to a soup kitchen. Katie's goal is to have a garden in every state. She's a tween who is empowering teens.
- Shannon MacNamara is headed to Rice University with aims to empower girls in Africa through education and has created libraries and helped thousands of students and teachers.
Companies can help these teens elevate their celebrity status. Social media can help these teens prosper and grow. Together, we can empower our teen leaders. That leads to more than 15 minutes of fame -- that's something that will last a lifetime.
Three Easy Pieces:
1. Recognize the problem: this generation has a branding problem that needs to be fixed. There is positive in the teenage world. Teens want to change the world. Teens want to be heroes.
2. Seek the great. Entertainment companies hire people to scour the web to find the next Greyson Chance -- the pop rock singer and pianist whose performance of Lady Gaga's Paparazzi at a sixth-grade music festival became a hit on YouTube and Greyson became overnight sensation. Be the company that searches for the teens who are changing the world. When you seek, you will find them. If you need help, email me!
3. PDA! Reward them. Support them. Follow them. Thank them. We need to do more than drive-by recognition. It's not good enough to simply write an article about teens who are changing the world and then move on to the next shiny object. Tell these outstanding teens and the world you love them. Thank them. They'll do the same in return. The circle and cycle of doing good will go on and on. It will last a lifetime.
In summary, if we empower our teens, recognize them, reward them and show them that you don't need to be a "celebrity" by being on a reality television show, but rather make a contribution to your real life, the world would grow better teens and thus a better world.