For a lot of us here, we probably walk around in the world feeling like we’re knowledgable about pop culture stuffs, maybe even like we’re more in the know than most. It’s a nice, harmlessly smug feeling. But then something like Pokemon Go turns up, and suddenly all our Swiss Army Mans and our Game of Thrones fan theories leave us reminded that more often than not, we have no idea what’s going on in the world.
Well, we’ve got a big new list topper for what’s out there, reminding us that we’re not the spring chickens we once were. (Kids still say “spring chickens,” right?) And that is Selena Gomez.
Like many of you, I know who Selena Gomez is, and I know she’s super famous, but I don’t exactly know why. Between some combination of the Disney Channel, Justin Bieber, her own career (music?), and Taylor Swift’s friendship, she’s some form of new media mega star. But I didn’t know just how mega.
According to the people who study these things, Gomez is the top social media influencer across all platforms (or at least Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook). She’s followed by two Jenners, Rihanna, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift. And for women like these, this doesn’t just mean they’ve got a ton of followers looking at their pictures and words. It means those pictures and words are worth a crap-ton of money. Like, $550,000 PER POST.
A few weeks ago, Gomez set a record by getting 4.6 million likes on this Instagram picture:
It’s pretty hard to miss the fact that nothing about that is natural. From the staging to the styling to the lyrics on the bottle, this is an ad. But she also has partnerships with Pantene and Kmart, and those can be harder to spot.
You don’t need to flash the name “Pantene,” here though. If enough girls and women see Selena Gomez toss her hair enough times, it becomes covetable, and they’re going to invest time in finding out what shampoo or whatever will turn them into Selena Gomez. And here’s what makes my brain sink in on itself more than anything: “enough” people are seeing these ads disguised as SUPER FUN TIMES. Because she has almost 200,000,000 followers online.
That’s one of those numbers that I have to stare at for a minute to make sure I didn’t suddenly forget how numbers work.
To be fair, that’s across all platforms, so many are doubles or even triples. But just on Instagram alone, she has almost 90 million followers, and gains about 200,000 per day.
So if you ever feel out of touch, like you don’t understand new trends or tastes, or have no idea what kids are into these days…
Of course, Selena Gomez herself seems pretty out of touch with the world, so I guess it all evens out.
There are more important things to talk about… Why can't people use their voice for something that fucking matters?— Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) July 18, 2016