Lil B & How Social Media Created Based World
You must have been under some sort of Internet rock in the last year or so to have missed out on the meteoric ascension of the rapper Lil B. He’s probably the best example of how the Internet and Social Media can transform a burgeoning avant garde bedroom artist into Fader magazine covers and sold out concerts around the world. Lil B has successfully utilized every aspect of social media to not only promote his brand, but to develop an almost cult-like following by perpetually using Twitter and other outlets to connect and interact with his fans. Although Lil B and his decidedly avant garde movement may seem like a fly by night phenomenon or an isolated case of Svengali posturing, he’s actually implemented many specific tactics through social media that have served to solidify his ever growing movement and reputation. Let me breakdown some of his social media tactics that have given this diy artist worldwide recognition and a devoted international following.
1. Live on the Internet
Even though the concept of living on the internet seems unrealistic or too Avatary, Lil B has literally single-handedly developed his empire through this idea. He said in a recent Fader interview that he’s online 22 hours a day. If I wasn’t aware of his prolific output, I would almost think he’s speaking in hyperbole, but 22 hours a day seems like it make sense when you assess the sheer volume of his output. He literally puts out a new album every two weeks; there’s at least one new music video or maybe two on his YouTube every week, and he updates his Twitter feed every few minutes while responding to as many fans as humanly possible. Lil B is the best example of how much time and effort it takes to not only build a substantial fanbase, but also what it takes to maintain those fans and develop a real connection with them.
2. Show the fans how much you care
Lil B is one of those artists in the realm of Web 2.0 culture that literally interacts with his fans on a micro level on a daily basis. There’s no such thing as Twitter ghostwriters or a behind the scenes Svengali running his Facebook; when you talk to Lil B online you’re only talking to Lil B, and that’s a main aspect in the creation of his cult-like fanbase. There’s literally countless memes online that have incorporated his slogans, dances, colloquialisms, or just his overall transgressive persona. People are devoted to his creative output because he takes the time and attention necessary to personally interact with as many fans as possible on a one on one basis. This concept is what could separate an up and coming bedroom artist from one who’s selling out clubs like Santos Party House and appearing on the cover of magazines like The Fader simply from pursuing a real and authentic connection with your fanbase.
3. Use Social Media to set yourself apart from “The Pack”
One of the most important aspects of Lil B’s seemingly overnight segue from diy to 40 million YouTube views is how he’s utilized social media to set himself apart from other artists. Lil B’s cult-like following is actually a completely literal concept; at his concerts men literally genuflect in his presence while simultaneously offering their girlfriends as an esteemed dowry of sorts. He even invented “The Cooking Dance” which became an online meme-parade and has even crossed over to professional sports, with football players adopting it for their end zone showboating rituals. Sure, Lil B puts in endless hours and energy to maintain his social media presence, but a lot of the fanfare and attention he’s received is due to the progressive and avant garde nature of his movement.
The way he uses social media transgresses every cultural norm conceivable whether it’s his absurdist, non sequitur tweets, his “alter-ego” fashion / style Tumblr Dior Paint, or his endless stream of mixtapes with bizarre titles, and artwork, which has helped him establish a strong visual presence for his “brand”, which is an extremely important aspect of differentiating himself from the thousands of other rappers / mixtapes on the web. If we can learn anything from Lil B’s incessant social media tactics, its equal parts old fashioned elbow grease mixed with a true innate sense of experimentation that has garnered him a such a large fanbase primarily through his innovative and persistent use of social media platforms.