The first thing I thought about while reading Kevin Kelly’s “1000 True Fans” was something that happened on live Television during the 2016 election process Tuesday night, around 12:30 am. It was on the ABC network where they were holding a place in the middle of the Time Square, New York City, talking to people in the crowd about their duration of their stay in the Square. The interviewer asked a younger man how long he’d stayed there which the man replied about 5 hours. Then she asked him more personal things regarding the election in which he replied again how he just wants peace and love etc. Then the interviewer said how that’s quite a statement and how he should be popular with the ladies, then asking what his username for social media was so he could find the girl of his dreams. He actually conceded and told his username for the social media app, Instagram, for the world of strangers to follow him. His number of Instagram followers increased by 2,000 in under 5 minutes.
“A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.”
Through this evidence, I can proclaim that it’s not always “true fans” that someone needs, but maybe just people who are willing to follow you for no reason at all. Are the ways for one to get 1,000 true fans skewed? This guy was just in the right time and the right place, said their name and had their 5 minutes of fame.
Good question. Count it. Kelly’s accounting of how one would develop these True fans features adding one fan per day (he notes that it wouldn’t take long, less than three years). That kind of development is obviously much slower than the young man you describe in your example, but I’d be surprised if all 2000 of those new followers end up being “True” fans like the ones Kelly is describing: someone who will buy everything an artist produces.
In regards to your question I think social media has made it easy for people to acquire “fans” more easily. Whether they are “true fans” you can only know after a longer period of time. Your example can be compared to different individuals that have garnered attention from a simple post or picture, like Alex from Target or the Pakistani tea vendor. I think that it is possible for individuals who suddenly attain a following, have the opportunity to make these fans into “true fans” through the actions they take after attaining their little bit of fame.