IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON FINANCIAL STATUS OF CELEBRITIES IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The use of social media platforms has grown exponentially in the last decade. From 2008 to 2018, the percentage of the U.S. population with a social media profile has grown from 10% to a whopping 77% (Statista, Percent of U.S. population, 2018). Social media sites such as Facebook and Youtube hold the highest number of registered accounts, with Facebook recording 1.86 billion accounts, followed by Whatsapp and YouTube, with 1.2 billion and 1 billion users, respectively (Statista, Percent of U.S. population, 2018). With the growing user base on these platforms, we can notice the tremendous influence such websites and apps have in our day-to-day life. With constant content creation, we have evolved into a world where knowledge is at our fingertips. Anything from gaming, cooking, and DIY(do-it-yourself) crafts are available for anyone who is looking for it. The high volume of social media users and content creators has brought about the emergence of certain “micro-celebrities”.
Since the appearance of mass media, the notion of a celebrity and admiration of media personas has been apparent. The influence from celebrities because of their saturation in mainstream media has made revolutionary impacts on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle habits of the general public. For example, we saw this happen with James Dean’s popularization of jeans from the 1950s movie Rebel Without a Cause. Up until the release of Rebel Without a Cause, no other film had accurately depicted the confusion and alienation that teenagers felt. Because it connected so well with teenage disillusionment, James quickly became a cultural icon (Costill, 2013). The image of James Dean in a white shirt, leather jacket, and a pair of Levi jeans has since become one of the most legendary images in pop culture. Consumers typically replicate styles of celebrities when they feel they relate to them, which justifies their reasoning to buy into the fashion trends (Stone, 2007). With the emergence of social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, this tendency is emulated to even greater extents. Since we are no longer limited to traditional celebrities, categorized as actors, musicians, and models, to influence our opinions about what we desire, consumers are exposed to and impacted by masses of influential “micro-celebrities”, or non-traditional celebrities who have become famous through online media usage. These “micro-celebrities” are seen as normal everyday people who have attained thousands or even millions of followers on these social media platforms. These individuals are known to the public, and their identification is based upon elements such as admiration, association, aspiration or recognition (Kutthakaphan & Chokesamritpol, 2013). The ability of any celebrity to influence a consumer’s needs and desires is seen as very valuable within the marketing realm. With both old and emerging companies trying to bring attention to their products, being able to utilize these platforms, minimize marketing costs, and draw in large audiences is essential. Throughout this article, I will explain why marketers should focus on the new phenomenon of the “micro-celebrity” to market their products, and why this marketing strategy is more effective than trying to use the influence of a traditional celebrity to introduce new customers to their product.
It is difficult to study social media without encountering the phrase social networking. Therefore, both concepts are discussed in this project work. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines social media as “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and blogging) through whichusers create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).” The same source defines networking as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” There are many ideas about the first occurrence of social media. “Throughout much of human history, we‟ve developed technologies that make it easier for us to communicate with each other” (Carton, 2009).
Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist known by many as the father of sociology, and Ferdinand Tonnies, a German sociologist, are considered pioneers of social networks during the late 1800s. Tonnies believed that social groups could exist because members shared values and beliefs or because shared conflict. His theory dealt with the social contract conceptions of society. Durkheim combined empirical research with sociological theory. Also, in the late 1800s, the radio and telephone were used for social interaction, albeit one-way with the radio (Rimskii, 2011, Wren, 2004).
Social networks have evolved over the years to the modern-day variety which uses digital media. However, the social media isn‟t that new. In addition, it didn’t start with the computer but instead the telephone. During the 1950s, phone phreaking, the term used for the rogue searching of the telephone network, began. This process was accomplished through the use of homemade electronic devices that facilitated unauthorized access to the telephone system to make free calls. Phreaks were able to find telephone company test lines and conference circuits to complete their task. Brett Borders stated phreaks were able to hack into corporate unused voice mailboxes to host the first blogs and podcasts (Borders, 2010).
During the 1960s, the public saw the advent of email (Borders, 2010). However, the internet was not available to the public until 1991. Email was originally a method to exchange messages from one computer to another, but both computers were required to be online. Today, email servers will accept and store messages which allow recipients to access the email at their convenience. In 1969, ARPANET, created by Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), a U.S. government agency, was developed. ARPANET was an “early network of time-sharing computers that formed the basis of the internet.” CompuServe, the third development of the 1960s, was also created in 1969 with a mission to provide time-sharing services by renting time on its computers. With very high fees, this service was too expensive for many (Rimskii, 2011; Ritholz, 2010).
The emergence of new and social media is quite a recent phenomenon and became popularised only when the Internet became ubiquitous and accessible to consumers worldwide, giving rise to the so called Network Society (Castells 2003). This shift implies a move from traditional communication and media theory (McLuhan 1962, 1964; McQuail 1983, 1997; Lazarsfeld and Katz 1955), even if new media didn’t replace older media but converged with other media sources (Lievrouw and Livingstone 2002). Today, in fact, as argued by Bolter and Grusin (1999), media are undergoing a process of “remediation” in which older media are continuously appropriated, reconstructed or absorbed by the new media, therefore simultaneously shaping future media and older ones (Bolter and Grusin 1999). The Social Web is able to combine in novel ways, remediate and expand communication and information possibilities that were already present in the past. Through social communication tools users are contributing content to new-media aggregators and big digital platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, and eBay. Blogs, or other platforms specifically designed for user-generated content, represent a social infrastructure that can harness people's social cooperation.
People’s relationships and digital identities become publicly displayed, forming a social graph that exposes each user's connections and lists of friends and contacts. In this research, social media is defined as “mass-self communication” (Castells 2010), i.e. the mass, meaning the “massive” amount of knowledge produced and in its production by the non-expert “masses”; and the production of knowledge that utilises the capabilities of large numbers of users for the solution and prediction of challenges or problems. And “self” because the communication happens intersubjectively among users themselves who can broadcast news or an update to their friends and to a potential mass audience. The Internet is considered as an enabling infrastructure for novel ways to organize collective action via communication technologies (Rheingold 2002).
Mass-self communication runs on horizontal networks of interactive communication, engaging users that “live with the Internet”, turning the Internet in the communication fabric of people's daily lives, for work, for personal connection, for social networking, for information, for entertainment, for politics and so on. According to Castells (2009), mass self-communication represents the contemporary evolution of the Web due to fast and mobile broadband diffusion, open-source software development and applications, advanced users' interfaces and experiences. Social media is defined in the literature as the term for the ways people connect to people through computation (Lenhart et al. 2010). Users can generate their personal profile, which includes personal information such as location, gender, age, activities and interests, beliefs, affiliations, and other multimedia content about users' personal and professional lives.
Social networks social media social, such as Facebook and Twitter are thus specifically designed for sharing emotions, feelings and opinions among the users, giving rise to “online communities”. In a popular report published by Hitwise and Experian (2010), social media are defined as embodying the notion of “online communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others” (2010, p. 1). Social networks allows people to share contents on a scale that has not been seen in the past (Colleoni et al., 2011), resulting in the creation of new relationships or communities organized around network of peers. Communication is referred as “viral” because ideas and opinions spread like epidemic diseases though the network via word-of-mouth creating trust among users based on group similarities (Colleoni et al., 2011).
Generally social media aren’t a very new phenomenon since they are part of the natural evolution of the digital Web towards a mass interactive communication infrastructure. Kirkpatrick draws on the history of social media, starting from long before the invention of the World Wide Web, with the Usenet in 1979, which enabled users to form groups based on specific topics (2010, p. 66) and virtual communities, described by Rheingold (2002), that represent the beginning of computer-mediated communication networks of people.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The study came about as a concern to the increasing number of depressed individuals which one of it factor is social media. Many researchers have come to the conclusion that social media has a great impact on celebrities and as such they tend to impress their fans even if it means living a fake life, trying to meet up and purchase what’s in vogue. Amongst the various research works on social media and celebrities, no research has talked about the impact of social media on the financial status of celebrities in Nigeria. Therefore, the study seeks to examine the impact of social media on the financial status of celebrities in Nigeria.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main aim of the study is to examine the impact of social media n the financial status of celebrities in Nigeria. Other specific objectives include:
1. To examine the relationship between social media and the financial status of celebrities.
2. To determine the impact of social media on the financial status of celebrities.
3. To examine the impact social media has on the general way of life of Nigerian celebrities.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the relationship between social media and the financial status of celebrities?
2. What impact has social media on the financial status of celebrities?
3. How has social media impacted on the general way of life of Nigerian celebrities?
1.5 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1. HO: social media has no significant impact on the financial status of celebrities.
2. H1: social media has significant impact on the financial status of celebrities.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Social media has a very strong impact on the financial status of celebrities. People use these social networking sites for information, communication, showing off of acquired wealth, living fake lives to impress people, building and maintaining of relationships. As a result the social media impact greatly on the lives of it users and especially celebrities. Over the past couple of years, social media metrics has had a huge impact financial status like advertising of products, celebrities marketing adverts with different companies. The amount of followers, likes, or views we get affects us so much that it lets us define our value and financial worth. Nowadays, people correlate someone having a low amount of social media metrics to meaning that the person isn’t as important, or as interesting or perhaps wealthy. Whereas someone having a high amount of social media metrics has the opposite meaning. They’re seen as interesting and important. And based on that, people automatically assume that a person who has a high number of followers is more liked than a person who has a few followers. Therefore, with that view, we let social media metrics define our financial worth.
We are constantly trying to get thousands of followers and sign deals with several companies in the hopes that it will improve our sense of financial status and societal acceptance and relevance. All of this can lead to anxiety and depression because social media metrics have become so valuable that it can have a huge effect on someone who isn’t happy about the results of their metrics. On the other hand, if someone has really good social media metrics it can lead to narcissism because they can start thinking that they’re better than those who have less, and will have a higher sense of self-worth.
The study will help individuals and the society at large to understand how the social media can be used to an advantage in building financial stability not neceesarily having to show off what you are not in order to impress, neglecting what social media can help to achieve. It will also go a long way in curbing anxiety and depression especially among the youths who are in constant use of the social media not to see it as a determinant factor to define their lives and progression in life coming to the understanding that not all that glitters is gold and everyone moves according to his/her pace in life. Finally, the social media can be used for lots of positivity’s like, adverts, meeting business partners, personality development and others.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study will cover the impact of social media on financial status of celebrities in Nigeria.