Bieber, Rihanna, and Gaga Exhange Followers for Fortune – Twitter

Being the most powerful celebrity in the nation or even the world for that matter no longer takes years of experience.  Sometimes it seems like stardom can happen over night. While Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, and Steven Spielberg are on the Forbes top 100 celeb list, there are plenty of today’s top players on the list that were not even born when Cruise’s Top Gun or Spielberg’s E.T hit movie theaters.


This years Forbes 100 Celebrity list reveals a new kind of power among the celebrities.

Media visibility in print, TV, financial earnings and social media now have great influence over who makes the list which offers more opportunity and benefit to a much younger generation of celebs. Digital sound and media channels develop fan bases as it cultivates growth in popularity both domestically and globally, and is happening at an enormous rate of speed. The younger generation is seeing their stardom blossom into empires much faster than other generations of celebrities who have been at their careers for a much longer period of time.

Out of the top ten on the list this year, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, and Katy Perry are all bursting the charts faster than their predecessors. In 2011, only Lady Gaga, Bieber, Taylor Swift, and Lebron James made the top 10.

The social media phenomenon seems to be the key to the most powerful on the list. The fact that some of them have more Twitter followers than others, like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga, also allows them to weigh in at top spots on the Forbes list.  Interestingly, when a recent journalist questioned Johnny Depp who is 56 on the list, if he Tweets, he was not even aware of what Twitter is.

Fans seem to feed off of the streaming news they hear from their idols, as most young stars don’t mind sharing details of their lives, especially when it is selling records, giving them status in media reports, or increasing their net worth. When fans don’t get something from the celebs often enough, they’ll tweet for something new about them.

There are those who use social media instead of traditional channels to give out information and thwart off rumors as young celebs like Khloe Kardashian(No 73), Rihanna (4), and Serena Williams (No77)  supplement their fan base and popularity on Twitter and other social media outlets. The younger generation understands the importance of community and aren’t afraid to step out and make a few mistakes along the way. They also know how fans like to stay in touch.

The younger powers offer themselves up as brands instead of just entertainers. Sandra Bullock (55), Cameron Diaz(59) and Tim Allen(98) all rank lower than the young entertainers of Rihanna (4), Beyonce (16) and Ryan Seacrest (29). The younger celebs are using their popularity to enhance other business opportunities and expand their wealth.


The question is, will the younger and more powerful generation be able to manage their power?  These young stars have the ability to reach their own audiences without relying on managers and other intermediaries. For instance, if Bieber wanted to gather 100,000 fans in Central Park in two hours, he could do so with a few Tweets. Their power is truly their own. How will they use it?

It remains to be seen what effect Simon Cowell (No. 18) adding Britney Spears (No. 6) to his arsenal of judges on “X Factor” will have on the list next year. Her power is in the 6 spot, but will it advance Cowell next year?