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The Monetization of Stupidity

By Fahn Darkor, Account Manager, Ignition72

A wonderful lady once told her beloved son that “Stupid is as Stupid does.” Her child was no stranger to the name-calling from his peers so she found it suitable to equip him with this piece of knowledge. What used to be a demeaning term has now turned into something… profitable.

As a millenial, I was exposed to shows like “America’s Funniest Home Videos” where I got to witness stupid acts happen to innocent people. This soon turned to “stupid people doing stupid acts” with the rise of talents like Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville on the hit MTV Show “Jackass”. It was at this moment I realized that stupidity could be monetized.

It hasn’t always been easy to monetize stupid because there were some blockers in the way. We used to have to turn our attention to various cable networks and daytime talk shows to get our daily dose of stupidity. With the development of YouTube and the surge of social media platforms, like Myspace and Facebook, we then had direct access to these short clips at every second of the hour.

One of the main motivations I’ve gathered for people to willingly put themselves in harms way, record it, then upload it to the internet for the world to see is for the ultimate goal of “viralbility”. Going viral has proven successful for people like Rebecca Black, whose performance of her irritable smash hit “Friday”, has gotten her a networth of $1.5 Million, and for the young Canadian kid who uploaded renditions of popular R&B music to his YouTube channel. That “kid” is Justin Bieber. But when you don’t have cringey speaking voice or an amazing singing voice, you sometimes turn to danger for recognition.

The Cinnamon Challenge. By the time this challenge went viral, I was a senior in High School with enough common sense to not force-close my throat. However, there were tons of people who weren’t fortunate enough to have this learned skillset. Millions of people around the world would pour a spoonful of cinnamon down their throat and record the responses for the world wide web. These short videos garnered a lot of attention for the individual uploader and for their YouTube Channel.  

YouTube pays its members based on the amount of views a video gets. The more attention your channel gets, the more likely sponsors or brands will attack your email with ways to collaborate on sponsored posts you can get paid for. Attention to your personal brand and a huge following is key if you want to monetize your talents, or your… stupidity.

Unfortunately, we all can’t be great vloggers, artist, models or musicians so we must turn to other methods to garnish fame and money. It’s much easier to trip down a flight of stairs and share to your social media accounts than it is to learn how to play the french horn or some other brass instrument. We’re in the digital age where your online presence holds a high value and the more followers you have, the closer you are to fame because going viral can lead to this.

So if you post enough stupidness you just might get a feature on Day Time News and a $1,000.00 endorsement. And who knows, eventually you can get your own reality show where now everybody can watch you make even more great decisions!

This blog post is part of a series which started here:

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