Today’s Social Media Stars Aren’t Celebrities, They’re Teens Making Six Second Videos

In Britain, today’s social media stars find themselves on Vine — a quick video media platform that offers participants with large fan bases the potential to earn thousands of dollars in just a few minutes. Ben Phillips, a 21-year-old, is one of those individuals — he can now score over $3,000 for every second of his six-second videos if he features a brand or product.

Phillips, with 1.2 million followers, can offer something to advertisers that not everyone else can: instant eyes for a relatively low fee. Phillips may have about a million followers, but thanks to shares and reposts, his videos can easily receive several million views. Phillips started out making videos with his ex-girlfriend’s son, and within a few months, everyone from clothing brands to car makers were interested in contacting Phillips, who works in a shoe store in South Wales during the day.

Of course, amassing hundreds of thousands of followers isn’t always easy, and many times, the latest popular posters seem almost picked at random from among thousands of users. The most popular Viner, for example, isn’t a celebrity or experienced comedian, but rather, a 16-year-old boy from North Carolina named Nash Grier. Grier has almost 10 million followers, and he has been offered a role in an upcoming Dreamworks movie as a result of his rising popularity and influence.

According to Darren Barefoot, who co-authored the book A Social Media Marketing Handbook, it’s the off-the-cuff attitude posters have that make the medium appealing, at least for now.

“These people have a raw and honest sense of humor that they can get across in six seconds. It’s enough time for one good joke,” he says, and adds that the user base is teenagers and young adults — a group that many advertisers are keen to reach out to.

While Vine might be a cash machine for some users and advertisers alike right now, many industry insiders say that the app’s main demographic — 18 to 25 year-olds — are notoriously volatile. Vine might be immensely popular a year from now — or it might be dropped like a hot potato, the way MySpace once was.

As of last week, though, Vine added an import feature to its service, which will make it easier for new users to create videos in a variety of ways — something that can help ensure that Vine experiences consistent user base growth. This feature will also make it easier for marketers to upload high-quality, professionally edited videos, something that was frequently a hurdle in the past, when users could only use videos created with their smartphone.

“Brands are going to be using Vine a little bit more, just like they use other social media platforms,” predicts Jonathan Skogmo, who works with Jukin Media — a company that buys the rights to viral Vine posts.

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