HBO Fake Famous – A new take on 2021 influencer marketing

Time to read: 4 mins

HBO Fake Famous – A new take on 2021 influencer marketing

HBO Fake Famous – Social Media and Influencer Marketing

Opinion: Here’s a new take on HBO’s social experiment documentary ‘Fake Famous’… it opened my eyes to another side of social media and the harsh reality that I’ve been comparing my success as an aspiring influencer to the success of people who have been playing this game a lot longer. It’s unfair to assume that every successful influencer is buying followers and engagement, but it is reasonable to recognize that the reality exists. 

Fake Famous (2021): Official Trailer | HBO

Influencer Marketing and Social Media in real-time

Fake or not, a lot of time and effort goes into selling a dream or lifestyle on the internet. I believe people’s natural inhibition to be curious beings allows us to always want to know more… about everything. Even I am guilty of wanting to know someone’s story. That could be the journalist in me talking, but that was what initially lead me down that path. 

In HBO’s ‘Fake Famous’, two of the three influencers in this experiment stood out to me, Dominique and Chris. Dominique completely bought into the new experiment and allowed the producers to cultivate a lifestyle she had never known in order for her to generate a presence online. She embraced the bought bots and watched the free products roll in. Her influence became widespread and she was living her dream and booking gigs left and right. 

HBO Fake Famous Graphic
Credit: HBO Fake Famous graphic https://images.app.goo.gl/iSCa9z8tV8FmWosw5

Chris was skeptical of the entire process and he deleted followers and fake comments whenever he found the time. To Chris, the price of being fake for fame was too great a risk. 

“If you asked me if I’d rather take 100,000 fake followers or 100 real ones, I’m taking the real ones, all day.” —Chris Bailey, HBO: ‘Fake Famous’ 

I see the risk and reward of both approaches and I took a while to contemplate a few things. 

I released a video on YouTube at the end of January 2021 and stated that I was going to start taking my influencer aspirations seriously. This past week, someone recommended I watch a documentary on HBO Max called Fake Famous. Influencer marketing has become a world of its own on social media. So, naturally, I wanted to know more. The documentary spans over a year as veteran technology journalist Nick Bilton assists three everyday people with their dream of being a social media influencer. In this instance, the team supplies props, glam teams, production crews, fake followers, and fake engagements. 

It made me think. 

What is the price of fame? What are you willing to pay? 

“If you asked me if I’d rather take 100,000 fake followers or 100 real ones, I’m taking the real ones, all day.”

—Chris Bailey, HBO: ‘Fake Famous’ 

My First Idea of Fame

When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of being a famous singer. I watched a lot of entertainment television and found myself daydreaming of life on the big stage. Then reality hit, I was terrified of singing in public. Actually, I was terrified of even speaking in public. Now that I have the vocabulary for it, I can call it what it is: social anxiety. 

leah gibson mic
Leah Yazzy Gibson’s new take on HBO: ‘Fake Famous’

But this post isn’t about my social anxiety or how I overcame it to become a broadcast journalist or a pageant queen. This post is about how my dreams shifted as the society’s affiliation with fame started it’s journey to a slow demise. 

I used to want to be famous. I wanted everyone to know my name. I wanted everyone to admire me and shower me with words of affirmation, but the truth is that there are far too many people in the world for everyone to think the same thing about you. Even if you are a hometown hero. 

The Price of Fame 

I no longer have a desire to be famous. When I was growing up, stars were praised for having real talent. We saw the lights and the glamour and rarely acknowledged the contrary. Tabloids and television exposed breaking news stories were the main channel for scandal that ruined careers, but times have changed. Reality television and social media completely changed the game, and my generation watched it happen. We even participate(d). 

These days, people are famous just for being famous. Today’s stars don’t need talent. They need star power…and that’s about it. Social media is the judge and if you don’t make the cut, cancel culture will ruin your career quicker than you ever could. Celebrities must stay on top of trends, remain relevant, balance a social life, find love, and remain humble… all for our entertainment. 

The Price I’m Willing to Pay 

My original idea of fame came with financial security, unanimous approval, and a platform to influence people on things that you care about (whether they be shallow or ground-breaking). Now, if I can help it, I desire to have influence without the global fame and scrutiny that it comes with. I’d like a substantial piece of the pie and an opportunity to create a legacy of wealth for my future generations without feeling the need to tell all of my personal business. I’d like to use my skills and natural talents to build actual businesses that encourage and help people without the agony of the public invasion of privacy that comes with stardom. 

Being a household name sounds nice in retrospect, but there are many brands and businesses that thrive with only a quarter of the world’s population knowing they exist. If I have to sacrifice myself, it is not worth it. Instead, I want to build a ‘smedium’ (small/medium) movement that will outlive my initial effort and serve as a pillar to success. I desire the kind of success that leaves your soul in tact, and if done right, frees you from the stronghold of needing validation from others at all because the who you are and what you contribute always speaks for itself. 

For my dreams, I’m willing to pay in sweat equity, time, attention to detail, love, dedication, transparency, prayer, and growth. That’s it. That’s what I’ve got to give. And for me, that will have to be enough. 

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leah gibson

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I'm Leah

Welcome to TheLeahEdition.com, where I challenge you to join me in the pursuit of radical self-improvement and revolutionary personal and professional success. 

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Hi There

I'm Leah

Welcome to TheLeahEdition.com, where I challenge you to join me in the pursuit of radical self-improvement and revolutionary personal and professional success. 

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Be the first to know about new content and boss vibes. Seriously, be in the know or hear about it.