Everyone knows Will Smith. He's a household name with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. In December 2017, he began making an effort on social media, primarily on YouTube and Instagram. In just over two months, he's gained over 800k YouTube subscribers and over 11 million Instagram followers.

So why did he, a big time star, begin taking social media seriously?

I found this coffee company in Australia. Two words: I’m suing.

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on

While Will Smith is a huge, Grammy award-winning actor/rapper/producer, his recent films haven't exactly lived up to their hype nor have they matched the popularity level of his older ones. It's been ten years since "I Am Legend."

In those ten years, people have been paying attention to social media more and Hollywood less, social media stars have given birth to a major industry, Netflix has began stealing customers from cable TV, and Will Smith's kids have risen in entertainment. 

The reason Will Smith began taking social media seriously - a decision that more in entertainment will also make - has to do with relevancy.

One's social media presence is related to their relevancy.

Will Smith wasn't irrelevant, but it would be a mistake to believe that he was at the same level as he used to be. It's not just Will Smith, it's any traditional actor or artist that hasn't taken their social media presence seriously.

The reality is this: In a world where everyone is competing for attention, a current movie star or artist with one hit a year is unable to win the attention battle when social media stars are putting out interesting content a few times a week.

This is why some celebrities have been outed for buying fake followers. In the current landscape where everyone can bypass studios, labels and publications and put out content directly to audiences, traditional stars have realized that they're not as relevant as they used to be.

What Will Smith is doing on social media

Will Smith has gone all in on vlogging. He has someone following around filming him, basically creating his own reality show on YouTube. While this has begun to take off in the business world à la Gary Vaynerchuk and Ryan Serhant and with athletes like Steve Nash, Hollywood stars have yet to really dive in.

Will Smith is at the forefront of actors vlogging, and he is well equipped for it. He's an artist at heart, has charisma and personality, a deep well of interesting things to say, and extensive on camera experience.

With the democratization of content distribution and the battle for attention, it is a sure bet that more personalities from traditional, mainstream entertainment will begin to parlay their status into social media channels and figure out how best to run them in order to keep attention and continue being relevant.


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Cover photo by Gage Skidmore

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