Here is the most well-known in a four-year series of Myspace designs that I created for Myspace celebrity, Tila Tequila. I just messaged her one day with a design I made for her after reading the About Me section of her Myspace page. I said, “If you want to use it, it’s yours.” That approach was actually how I got a lot of my clients at the time…and I got “paid ” in compliments, demos and concerts tickets. A VIP backstage pass to a multi million dollar concert, twice. But I only began to actually make a living off of doing what I love because of Tila. That non-famous person on her Top 8? That was me, claire_e.
(Thank you, T.)
In addition to designing and coding the page, I also assisted in running her Myspace when Tila was away. I eventually became her “go-to” – with my work contributing to further aspects of her business, such as, her music and her clothing line. When we began our Myspace relationship in the early 2000s, she had almost 800,000 friends which then grew to more than 2 million friends – landing her own show on MTV.
By now, everyone gets it – this social networking aspect of attaining a following – because everybody does it. It was an amazing, and this deserves to be said again, AMAZING experience to work with Tila during a time when internet celebrity and the power of an internet following was still something Hollywood hadn’t quite cared to figure out. She understood the importance of connection, accessibility and transparency – and wasn’t afraid to be personal IN REAL TIME during an era when the internet was all about anonymity. Loved or hated, Tila’s enthusiasm for connecting in real time with her followers laid out the foundation for the now widely-used “social media marketing” technique. If there is any doubt to what I’ve claimed, remember, she was the first internet-grown celebrity to get her own show on a major television network. Her ground-breaking approach also gained her recognition from Time Magazine. With Hollywood now seeing the profitability of social media personalities, this recognition gave those with massive followings on social media sites the leverage they needed to break into mainstream. The profitability of this technique is solidified as mainstream’s need for an internet relationship has become just as, if not more, important.
Through my work relationship with Tila and affiliations with other early social media powerhouses because of my part in “the most popular page on the planet,” I was given insight to social media behavior in its youth. I got to study how “followers” – this emerging, reactive, internet force – were being moved, instinctively and without having yet developed a standard of social media behavior, by what was being shared. I am aware of how lucky I was to have been allowed to gain that perspective – be acutely present and made useful – in the inner workings of what has made this redefining transition of the internet possible. This knowledge operates within the core of my approach for building online relationships.
Featured Client: WWW.MYSPACE.COM/TILATEQUILA
Roles: Graphic Design, Web Design, Webmaster, Social Media Assistant, (Web) Operations Manager for MissTilaOMG.com
Did you know: Before Myspace allowed users to automatically accept friend requests, it was Tila and I who manually clicked the accept button for what Maxim dubbed, “The most popular page on the planet.”