I keep saying it, but if you're not tuning into the streamer-verse, you're missing out on the only thriving and dynamic format of entertainment these days.
How dynamic and buzzworthy is it? It's the only place where the paparazzi still thrive -- AKA the clippers. If the individuals, and their entire scene, were not in demand by the general public, the paparazzi would get no money or status by covering them.
Literally no one consumes the output of the paparazzi who cover Hollywood movies, TV, sports, or video games. E!, Us Weekly, TMZ, and Blind Gossip, have fallen off from 10-15 years ago -- not because of anything they did wrong, but because the people / scenes they cover have fallen off from the public's fascination.
It's only the streamers -- some of whom play video games, some of whom are in other genres of streaming -- who generate such an organic amount of buzz, that a form of paparazzi can strike it rich (monetarily, or at least in clout) by covering them and providing snapshots to the audience, who don't have enough time to follow everything that every streamer does.
It's progressed to the point where there's internal debate about the value of clippers, akin to the Midcentury portrayal of the paparazzi covering movie celebs (like La Dolce Vita). Are they good, bad, annoying, helpful, leave them alone, chase them away, etc.? But they're thriving enough as a part of the entire ecosystem of streaming, just as the paparazzi were in the Hollywood celeb ecosystem back then.
There are even "weekly / monthly re-caps" of streamers in a certain genre, like Vtubers, or just Hololive English, that are regularly posted by a number of compilation channels on YouTube. It reminds me exactly of Talk Soup on the E! channel back in the '90s and 2000s, which took clips from a variety of talk shows during the week, and added a quick witty comment afterward, similar to the clippers zooming in on the streamer's face during a really funny line of dialog, maybe adding a text comment of their own on top of the visual.
What other form of entertainment generates a weekly review of the primary content, for the audience who can't keep up with everything -- and where this secondary content is considered entertaining in its own right, like Talk Soup back in the day? It's the clippers, "This month in Hololive-EN" YouTube compilations, the clearinghouse subreddit of LivestreamFail, and so on, all covering streamers.
Way back when, there were movie stars, then scripted TV stars, then reality TV stars, and now -- streaming stars. I don't think that risks inflating their egos, they already know what their follower counts and monthly incomes look like, how much of an entire ecosystem there is that is centered around their primary content, etc.
And as for the female streamers, they're the only thing close to an It Girl these days, whether they show their face or use a moving anime girl avatar.
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Just to demonstrate that this is not merely a change away from IRL mass media, like movies in theaters, to online sub-cultural media, consider the other huge format to come out of the info-economy / entirely-online era -- podcasting.
Nobody clips podcasts and maintains a channel of their own for these clips, there are no weekly / monthly compilations, and there is no single clearinghouse subreddit about the podcasting format. And even if someone tried to do so, it would not be considered entertaining in its own right. The only reason people would clip podcasts would be to wage informational warfare against the hosts and their audience, to dunk on the other team, etc.
Generally, though, the info-warriors stick to screenshotting / quote-tweeting their enemies' tweets, rather than clip their podcasts. Twitter is their primary platform, and the podcasts are an appendage of that platform. Podcast content is a peripheral, not central, form of content in their take-meister / discourse ecosystem.
That doesn't mean it's less thought-out, or shorter-form -- quite the opposite. It's longer-form, and more structured than their tweets. But it's more of a side-hustle or passion project, and their full-time role is arguing on Twitter.
That is the opposite of the streamers, who generally post little at all on Twitter or any other textual platform, other than notices about upcoming streams. Streamers have more followers on their streaming platform than on Twitter, whereas the podcasters have more followers on Twitter than on their podcasting platform of choice.
To reiterate, people don't clip podcasts because they're not the real, primary content that grabs the audience's attention. It's posting on Twitter that is most relevant.
Still, aren't screenshotters like the paparazzi? No, because they're all highly partisan, screenshotting their enemies in order to dunk on them. Paparazzi were simply chasing the popularity, and didn't care one way or another about their subjects. Hate them or love them, taking a killer picture of them could earn you big bucks from a publisher, and perhaps fame if you did it long enough.
That is how the clippers of streams behave toward their subject -- whether you think this particular incident was based or cringe, you know it could do huge numbers, and you could monetize that as a nice little gig. Maybe even get famous in your own right if you stick to it enough. It's not primarily a bunch of bitter jealous haters clipping a stream in order to dunk on their sworn enemies.
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Probably this has to do with the difference between media and entertainment, where media is far more ideological, and entertainment less so. You can make fairly ideology-free art and entertainment, but ideology-free media / reporting is a lot rarer.
Entertainment exists in its own space, although it may get conscripted into a political war. But the media, academia, and the "knowledge economy" are far more politically charged from the get-go, since their whole role is to justify and rationalize what is going on at the elite level. Entertainment is just to entertain.
Speaking of which, I notice that the streamers have lower education levels than their counterparts in the media or academia or knowledge economy sector. Not that they're less intelligent, they just didn't get sucked into the higher ed bubble as far as the media strivers did. Maybe they only did high school, or took some college but started streaming full-time instead of graduating. Or graduated but did streaming instead of grad / professional school.
Another way that they are the ones who are most similar to the Hollywood celebs from an earlier era. You didn't have to have a professional degree to star in Hollywood movies, let alone was there a premium for going to an Ivy League school. Your job did not involve propaganda, so you didn't have to be so thoroughly familiar with the ideology of the ruling elite -- what to promote, what to discourage, what to refrain from mentioning entirely. Just be entertaining, and that's it.
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Where else might there arise a paparazzi role to cover the primary content? TikTok. That's entertainment, not media, and fairly ideology-free. (Reminder to Twitter-tards: everything you see from TikTok comes not directly from TikTok, a site / platform you never use, but mediated through cherry-picked examples by rage-baiters from your own platform, e.g. Libs of TikTok.)
But it's pretty short-form stuff, and so heavily visual and musical. There's not much to clip -- the entire original content is already of clip length. I see TikTok as providing the next models, rather than movie / TV stars who had to play characters in a narrative. There's no narrative or character history on TikTok. It's impressionistic, lifestyle vignettes, and lacking backstory or lore -- personas that are mysterious and alluring.
Models rarely figured into the paparazzi activities, unless a photographer followed one around IRL. You couldn't just source some clips from TV shows, stitch them together, and comment on them, like Talk Soup. The content that the models were a part of, was an ad campaign or runway show that you could take in all at once, in already public spaces, like billboards. You didn't need a middleman to "curate" a bunch of the models' content in one convenient place.
Aside from a very small number of supermodels, the model never reached the same level of celeb status as the actresses or singers (who were also playing characters whose brand and personal life could evolve in narrative form).
That's not to downplay TikTok or models -- I've written for awhile about the death of models, how actresses and singers have taken their place, and I wish they would come back. Hopefully TikTok can do that, but there are way too many vying for what must necessarily be a small number of slots at the top level. Others could continue doing it for fun, as a hobby, of course.
But there would still have to be curators, gatekeepers, or tastemakers -- like whoever casted the American Apparel models back in the good ol' days, or the cover girls for glossy magazines before that. And so far, the only kind of curators I see are the innumerable "TikTok compilation channel" operators, who put literally anyone in their re-uploads to YouTube. They don't have the eye for it.
It seems like each major brand would have to have its own TikTok account, which would feature models from TikTok (whether they were aspiring amateurs, or just lucky one-timers), wearing the brand's clothes. Like, if L.A. Apparel (the successor to American) had its own account, and you followed their feed in order to see who their casting directors had selected, out of the however-many-zillions of babes on the platform.
Or whoever the top alt-girl clothing brands are, more appropriately for TikTok.
Or Brandy Melville, also very appropriately for TikTok, which is not all e-girls, but has tons of normies who still want a fashionable edge to their everyday look.
Anything would be better than the garden-variety TikTok re-uploader on YouTube, encrusted with ads, "remember to subscribe" garbage, and the like. It has to be a showcase, of good taste, with no appeals to do anything -- it's already understood where to go get the things being modeled, or where to look that up elsewhere.
To wrap up where we started, that is another huge benefit of the streaming format -- they never waste their breath annoying you with those reminders to subscribe, smash that like button, comment down below, click the bell to get notifications, bla bla bla, like we slept through all of the 2010s and don't know how to use a social media site.
It's just not huckster-y -- and they make tons more money than the hucksters anyway! Or maybe, because of the lowkey nature of their salesmanship. The streamers do read the names and messages from people who leave a donation, but those dono's are not required to watch the stream, so it's more like a list of acknowledgements or credits in a book, movie, etc. "Produced with the generous support of the following people and institutions..." It's not salesman stuff.
I'd better stop there, though, before I get into the business models of streamers vs. podcasters. But briefly, it looks like you should make most or all of your content free, and aim for a contract with an employer / agency willing to hire you, or lacking that, get donations from fans who want to express their fandom and desire to be a benefactor -- not as the price of admission for every audience member.