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The Distinct Way Celebrities Generate Likes

After watching the enlightening documentary, Generation Like PBS and Frontline Author Douglas Rushkoff examines the positive impact of social media as it relates to the power of the younger generation on social media. Douglas Rushkoff, explains the power of social media and how the “like”, “share”, or “re-tweet” button is encouraged for it generates value and data for companies. Living proof of this theory, is internet sensation Tyler Oakley, who became a celebrity through YouTube- his growing net worth made him a millionaire due to the power of sharing. The power of sharing and building connections, is beneficial for both parties involved and is a great leveraging tool for marketing to a large demographic of people.

Another internet sensation Rushkoff feature in Generation Like, is teenager Steven Fernandez, who is a professional skateboarder who leveraged skateboarding and YouTube to become famous. Fernandez is a popular young skateboarder from Compton, California and used the internet to build awareness about himself and help promote skate brands. His channel is not just a skateboarding channel-it is an entertainment channel for the younger generation of skateboarders and cretes videos that involve women and bizarre acts to create attention. Danah Boyd, author of Its Complicated states, “when your business depends on number of clicks, the number of page views, and Ad impressions you need their impressions because it’s a way of capturing money as well.”

 I happen to love sports, and for my capstone I am analyzing the way athletes benefit from using social media. Athletes are some of the most cherished people in the world due to their superior mental and physical ability. I am always intrigued by the way athletes differentiate themselves on social media especially after they retire and when they are in the prime of their career. Every athlete is unique in their own right and when athletes express themselves through social media fans feel a strong sense of connection due to the various profiles I have analyzed.

Last week, UFC Champion Conor McGregor squared off against Nate Diaz for the 196 championship belt. Regardless of the result, this fight created serious traction on social media due to McGregor’s outlandish pre-fight trash talking ability. Three days before the fight took place, McGregor advertised a nightclub and the fight on social media encouraging all fans to be at Encore Nightclub, “Surrender” for a post fight celebration. This post created a lot of buzz for fans felt that McGregor was getting too ahead of himself and lacking respect for Nate Diaz. (Picture below is from Mcgregor’s Instagram account “thenotoriousmma”)


McGregor’s trash talking ability is one of the best in the business and through his social media efforts he proudly promoted the fight using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. His total fan base reaches 8 million followers and generates a strong response rate from fans.  Four hours before the fight took place, McGregor posted a picture of himself on social media which showed him looking dapper in a limo on his way to the MGM Grand with a caption that stated, “Cruising to the office. #FightNight #UFC196” His post was shared and liked by roughly 800K users on social media which generated more business for UFC, the fight, and his overall brand.


Following the fight when McGregor was shockingly upset by Nate Diaz, McGregor posted a second picture just an hour after his loss and it received 1.2 million likes with an additional 600K shares. Within seconds of posting his defeat on social media, thousands of fans responded to his post and one fan went as far to say, “Win or lose we will follow you till the end” this post received 77K likes and 2K replies. This fight gained so much traction from fans, that it began to trend on my Facebook page as numerous friends were sharing and talking about the fight. Little to his fans knowledge, when they engage with his content he is receiving money no matter the result. As long as people are keeping up with his social media account, brands and companies associated are generating income and building value.

According to reports, McGregor walked away from the fight generation $1bn in revenue and becoming far more likeable in the defeat due to his bravery and acceptance of defeat on social media.  McGregor is a marketing genius for he built the fight up with his trash talking efforts and understanding that the only way people could view the fight was through paper view. His knowledge of social media marketing played a vital role in his plan to promote various companies involved in the fight which in return allow him to walk away from the fight making millions of dollars.

Jeff Chase @Jeff_Chase1

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University