It’s no secret that I am a TMZ watching, Us Weekly reading, pop culture fanatic. There is good reason why I’m not alone in this thinking. Whether it’s the chic and brilliant Johnny Depps and Meryl Streeps of the world, or the not-quite-sure-why-they-are-famous Kim Kardasians and Heidi Montags, the fascination is due to the fact that these people are beautiful, wealthy, and – at least in some cases – talented. The constant swarm of salacious gossip doesn’t hurt either.
But lately, we’ve seen a new breed of celebrity: digital business leaders.
As Robin Leach has proved, we like to see who is making money, how they make their money and what they do with their money. But as we flip through the Forbes 100 Wealthiest List we likely recognize only a handful of names and even fewer faces.
As a twenty-something PR professional, I have a limited understanding of hedge funds, tech VCs and manufacturing conglomerates. But when it comes to Facebook, that’s something I can certainly relate to. This brings me to the latest and greatest poster child for the ‘new celebrity’: Mark Zuckerberg.
Bill Gates may have been one of the first to hit the mainstream celebrity news wave, and The Donald certainly pulled business savvy into the spotlight with ‘The Apprentice.’ But never has there been such a fast and furious rise to success and fame as Zuckerberg, sparking news interest from People Magazine to MSNBC.
As evident by the success of the book The Accidental Billionaires and the pending release of the film, “The Social Network” hitting theaters this October, we are looking to people like Zuckerberg in the same way we’d crave the back story behind the Jennifer-Brad-Angelina love triangle.
Zuckerberg isn’t the only one. Hundreds of people waited in line at SXSW to play Four Square with Dennis Crowley, founder of the geo-locating social network by the same name. The blogosphere went wild when Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable, was spotted in Vancouver with his new girlfriend. And it was recently reported that Hollywood producers are looking to develop film based on the book Googled: The End of the World As We Know It about the team behind the development and launch of the search engine giant.
While we might not fawn over Zuckerberg’s good looks in the same way we might with Robert Pattinson or Zac Effron, there is no denying that he and other digital business leaders are playing a huge part in the way those interested in celebrities look at business and the way those interested in business look at celebrities.