I’ve started guessing the digital importance of people I meet. Here’s an example.
Last week I came across an interesting Meetup event. The focus of the event was “Virtual Reality Storytelling”. A lady who recently created a spy-thriller franchise with a VR component was going to be the guest speaker.
I’d never been to any Meetup events before. I’m fascinated by the idea of virtual reality revolutionizing entertainment so I signed up to attend.
I arrived on time. There were maybe twenty people in attendance plus the organizer of the event and the speaker. While the organizer set up the projector for the presentation, the speaker casually introduced herself to all the attendees.
From the outset, she seemed like a very nice person. She spoke about how she had a background in traditional storytelling but recently shifted her focus to more innovative media.
As she talked, I caught myself wondering how powerful her online presence was. My gut instinct was that she had no real online audience. It feels weird admitting that in writing.
It wasn’t like as soon as she opened her gob my internal narrator started to yell “HOW MANY TWITTER FOLLOWERS YOU GOT BABES?“, however if I’m being truly honest I did begin to speculate shortly after she introduced herself.
I’m not someone who’s obsessed with fame. Like every other mouth-breathing moron I’m often temporarily distracted by a shiny Kardashian arse or a Miley nip-slip. But these aren’t people I put on any great pedestals just because of their cultural standing.
After the event I looked the speaker up online. My gut instinct was right. She is not someone who has a large online following.
Let me be clear: I don’t think those who have online followings are better humans than those who don’t. I listened respectfully to everything this speaker had to say, I think she had some very interesting insight on virtual reality storytelling and I’m really interested to see what she she creates in the future. However, those that do have an online following undoubtedly have more power to influence, and this is why this judgmental voice in my head exists.
The whole experience was wild as it was a cutting example of how the digital world is impacting “real” life.
It can go the other way too.
You meet a friend of a friend at a bar. There’s a slickness to their character and you suspect they’re doing pretty “well” on social media. You check their Instagram the next day and sure enough they have over 5,000 followers.
Is this the first step in the avatar-ization of our personalities? Or am I just being paranoid and judgmental?