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不要轻视网红,他们正在主宰世界

更新时间:2019/7/18 20:34:12 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Don’t Scoff at Influencers. They’re Taking Over the World.
不要轻视网红,他们正在主宰世界

ANAHEIM, Calif. — When the first TikTok star is elected president, I hope she will save some room in her cabinet for older and more conventional bureaucrats, even if they don’t have millions of followers, great hair or amazing dance moves.

加利福尼亚州阿纳海姆——当第一位TikTok明星当选总统时,我希望她能在内阁中为年长的传统官僚保留一些位置,即使他们没有数百万的追随者,没有漂亮的发型,跳不出炫目的舞步。

I say “when,” not “if,” because I just spent three days at VidCon, the annual social media convention in Anaheim, hanging out with a few thousand current and future internet celebrities. And it’s increasingly obvious to me that the teenagers and 20-somethings who have mastered these platforms — and who are often dismissed as shallow, preening narcissists by adults who don’t know any better — are going to dominate not just internet culture or the entertainment industry but society as a whole.

我之所以说“当”而不是“如果”,是因为我刚刚在阿纳海姆的年度社交媒体大会VidCon上待了三天,和数千名现在和未来的网红们在一起。在我看来,越来越清晰的一点是,掌握了这些平台的青少年和年轻人(他们往往被一些不了解情况的成年人视为肤浅、自满的自恋狂)将不仅主宰网络文化或娱乐产业,还有整个社会。

On the surface, this can be a terrifying proposition. One day at VidCon, I hung out with a crew of teenage Instagram stars, who seemed to spend most of their time filming “collabs” with other creators and complimenting one another on their “drip,” influencer-speak for clothes and accessories. (In their case, head-to-toe Gucci and Balenciaga outfits with diamond necklaces and designer sneakers.) Another day, I witnessed an awkward dance battle between two budding TikTok influencers, neither of whom could have been older than 10. (Adults who are just catching up: TikTok is a short-form video app owned by the Chinese internet company Bytedance.)

从表面上看,这可能是一个可怕的提议。一天,在VidCon,我和一群十几岁的Instagram明星在一起,他们似乎大部分时间都是在跟其他创作者一起拍摄“合作”(collab),并互赞对方的“行头”(drip)——这是影响力人物对衣服和配饰的说法。(以他们为例,从头到脚都是Gucci和Balenciaga的衣服,搭配钻石项链和潮牌运动鞋。)另一天,我目睹了两个刚蹿红的TikTok网红之间的一场尬舞,他们看上去不到10岁。(正在迎头赶上的成年人请注意:TikTok是中国互联网公司字节跳动旗下的一款短视频应用。)

But if you can look past the silliness and status-seeking, many people at VidCon are hard at work. Being an influencer can be an exhausting, burnout-inducing job, and the people who are good at it have typically spent years working their way up the ladder. Many social media influencers are essentially one-person start-ups, and the best ones can spot trends, experiment relentlessly with new formats and platforms, build an authentic connection with an audience, pay close attention to their channel analytics, and figure out how to distinguish themselves in a crowded media environment — all while churning out a constant stream of new content.

但如果你能无视那些傻里傻气、追求地位之举的话,VidCon的许多人其实都很拼。成为一名网红是一份令人精疲力尽的工作,而擅长此道的人通常都用了好几年的时间才一步步爬上来。许多社交媒体的影响者其实都是一人创业公司,其中的佼佼者可以发现趋势走向、坚持不懈地尝试新格式、新平台,与受众建立一个真实的联系,密切关注他们的渠道分析,找到如何在一个拥挤的媒体环境下脱颖而出的办法——与此同时还在不断产生新的内容流。

Not all influencers are brilliant polymaths, of course. Some of them have succeeded by virtue of being conventionally attractive, or good at video games, or in possession of some other surface-level attribute. Others have made their names with dubious stunts and extreme political commentary.

当然,并非所有网红都是博学多闻的聪明人。他们中的一些人之所以成功,是因为具有传统的吸引力,或者擅长电子游戏,或者拥有其他一些表面上的特质。还有人则以可疑的噱头和极端的政治评论爆得大名。

But as social media expands its cultural dominance, the people who can steer the online conversation will have an upper hand in whatever niche they occupy — whether that’s media, politics, business or some other field.

但随着社交媒体扩大在文化中的主导地位,那些能够在网上引导话题的人,将在他们占据的任何利基领域处在上风位置——无论是媒体、政治、商业还是其他领域。

“The way to think of influencers or creators is as entrepreneurs,” said Chris Stokel-Walker, the author of “YouTubers.” “These people are setting up businesses, hiring staff, managing budgets. These are massively transferable skills.”

“要把影响力人物或创造者看作创业者,”《YouTube网红》一书的作者克里斯·斯托克尔-沃克(Chris Stokel-Walker)说。“这些人是在创业、招聘员工、管理预算。这些都是相当可转用的技能。”

Just look at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who has become a powerful force in Congress by pairing her policy agenda with an intuitive understanding of what works online. Or look at what’s happening in Brazil, where YouTubers are winning political elections by mobilizing their online fan bases.

看看代表纽约州的民主党众议员亚历山德里娅·奥卡西奥-科尔特兹(Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez),她已经成为国会的一支重要力量,她把自己的政策议程与对网络运作的直观理解相结合。或者再看看巴西发生的事情,那里的YouTube网红通过动员他们的在线粉丝群赢得政治选举。

In the business world, influencer culture is already an established force. A generation of direct-to-consumer brands that were built using the tools and tactics of social media has skyrocketed to success — like Glossier, the influencer-beloved beauty company that recently raised $100 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion, or Away, the luggage start-up whose ubiquitous Instagram ads helped it reach a valuation of $1.4 billion. Many social media stars strike endorsement deals with major brands, in addition to earning money through advertising and merchandise sales. And even executives in sleepy, old-line industries now hire “personal branding consultants” to help increase their online followings.

在商业世界,有影响力的文化已经是一种既定的力量。利用社交媒体工具和策略打造的一代直接面对消费者的品牌,已经一炮而红——像深受影响者喜爱的美妆公司Glossier最近筹集了1亿美元,估值超过10亿美元;又或者行李箱初创公司Away在Instagram上无处不在的广告,帮助它达到14亿美元的估值。除了通过广告和商品销售赚钱,许多社交媒体明星还与大品牌达成代言协议。甚至在那些昏昏欲睡的传统行业里,高管们如今也开始雇佣“个人品牌顾问”来帮助增加网上的关注者。

Natalie Alzate, a YouTuber with more than 10 million subscribers who goes by Natalies Outlet, is an example of the wave of influencers who treated their online brand-building as a business rather than a fun hobby. Four years ago, when Ms. Alzate first came to VidCon, she was a marketing student with fewer than 7,000 subscribers. She decided to study her favorite YouTubers, watch how they made their videos and then test videos in multiple genres, seeing which ones performed best on her channel.

娜塔莉·阿尔扎特(Natalie Alzate)的YouTube频道叫Natalies Outlet,订阅者超过1000万。她是这一批网红中的典型,他们把打造网络品牌当成一种生意,而不是一种兴趣爱好。四年前,当阿尔扎特第一次参加VidCon时,她还只是一名市场营销专业的学生,只有不到7000名订阅者。她决定研究一下自己最喜欢的那些YouTube网红,看看他们是如何制作视频的,然后测试不同类型的视频,看看哪类在她的频道上表现最好。

“I grew up watching people, like Michelle Phan, that were building legacies out of, honestly, just being really relatable online,” Ms. Alzate said. “It was always an aspiration.”

“我从小就看着像米歇尔·潘(Michelle Phan)这样的人,说实话,他们的得以流传的东西很大程度上都是在网上建立的,”阿尔扎特说。“这一直是我的抱负。”

Eventually, she hit on formats — like beauty tips and lifehacks — that reliably performed well, and she was off to the races. Today, she is a full-time YouTuber with a small staff, a production studio and the kind of fame she once coveted.

最终,她找到了一些确实表现不错的模式,比如美容秘诀和生活小窍门,于是她就开始投身这个行业。如今,她是一名全职YouTube创作者,拥有不大的员工规模、一个制作工作室,以及她曾经梦寐以求的那种名气。

In truth, influencers have been running the world for years. We just haven’t called them that. Instead, we called them “movie stars” or “talk-radio hosts” or “Davos attendees.” The ability to stay relevant and attract attention to your work has always been critical. And who, aside from perhaps President Trump, is better at getting attention than a YouTube star?

事实上,影响者已经统治这个世界很多年了。我们只是没有这么称呼他们,而是称他们为“电影明星”、“脱口秀主持人”或“达沃斯与会者”。保持相关性和吸引别人注意你的工作的能力一直都很重要。除了特朗普总统,还有谁比YouTube明星更能吸引眼球呢?

VidCon, which started 10 years ago as a meet-and-greet event for popular YouTubers, is a perfect place to observe influencers in their natural habitat. And many of them were here to promote their channels, to network with other creators and to make strides toward the dream of internet fame.

VidCon始于10年前,最初是受欢迎的YouTube创作者的见面会,是观察网红在其自然栖息地的完美场所。他们当中许多人来这里是为了宣传自己的频道,与其他创作者建立联系,并朝着互联网成名的梦想迈进。

Sometimes, that meant appearing in photos and videos with more popular influencers in an attempt to increase their own following, a practice known in influencer circles as “clout chasing.” Other times, it meant going to panels with titles like “Curating Your Personal Brand” and “How to Go Viral and Build an Audience.” For VidCon’s featured creators, the super-famous ones with millions of followers, it can mean spending the day at a meet-and-greet with fans before going out to V.I.P. parties at night.

有时,这意味着与更受欢迎的网红一起出现在照片和视频中,以增加自己的关注者,这种做法在网红圈子里被称为“追逐影响力”。还有时要参加一些以“打造个人品牌”和“如何做到病毒传播并建立受众”为主题的讨论会。对于VidCon的特别主创们,也就是那些拥有数百万粉丝的超级明星来说,白天则要和粉丝见面,晚上出去参加VIP派对。

Not all of the young people I met at VidCon will spend their whole lives pursuing internet fame. Some of them will grow up, go off to college and wind up becoming doctors, lawyers or accountants. Some will fizzle out and be replaced by a younger generation of internet stars.

并不是我在VidCon遇到的所有年轻人都用毕生来追求网络上的名声。他们中的一些人长大后会去上大学,最终成为医生、律师或会计师。还有一些人将会失败,被年轻一代的网络明星所取代。

But the lessons they learned from performing on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok will stick with them, regardless of where they end up. Just as the 20th century groomed a generation of children steeped in the ethos of TV culture, the 21st century will produce a generation of business moguls, politicians and media figures who grew up chasing clout online and understand how to operate the levers of the attention economy.

但他们从YouTube、Instagram和TikTok上的表演中学到的经验会一直伴随着他们,不管他们最终成为什么样的人。就像20世纪培养了一代沉浸在电视文化氛围中的孩子一样,21世纪也将培养出一代商界大亨、政界人士和媒体人士,他们在成长过程中追逐网络影响力,懂得如何运用注意力经济的杠杆。

“In the early days, it felt like this was a sub-niche of youth culture,” Beau Bryant, the general manager of talent at Fullscreen, a management agency for digital creators, told me at VidCon. He gestured around at a room filled with influencers sitting on velvet couches. Some were taking selfies and editing their Instagram stories. Others were holding business meetings about partnerships and sponsored content deals.

“早期,我觉得这是青年文化的一个细分市场,” Fullscreen公司的人才总监博·布莱恩特(Beau Bryant)在VidCon对我说。他指了指满屋坐在丝绒沙发上的网红们。一些人在自拍,编辑他们的Instagram故事。一些人在举行有关合作伙伴关系和赞助内容交易的商务会议。

“Now, it just feels like this is what youth culture is,” Mr. Bryant said.

“现在,好像这就是青年文化,”布莱恩特说。

In other words, influencers are the future. Dismiss them at your peril.

换句话说,网红就是未来。忽视他们,你只能后果自负。

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