The Rock for President? Thanks social media

Welcome to the first post in our new series, Intern-al Issues. Authored by our intern Sean, this column is a fortnightly look at issues in the digital marketing space. Enjoy! 

Sophie Turner. You may or may not recognize the name.

Well if you don’t, she acts as Sansa Stark on “Game of Thrones”.

I’m sure you have heard of that show, yes? Maybe you are 1 of her 5.9 million followers on Instagram, or 1 of 2.1 million followers on Facebook or perhaps 1 of the 1.4 million followers on Twitter. Or maybe you’re not. But either way, you get the idea. When it comes to social media, she is a heavyweight.

According to her, she is fully aware of the advantages a huge social media presence has on her career.

“I auditioned for a project and it was between me and another girl who is a far better actress than I am, far better, but I had the followers, so I got the job.”

So, does this mean social media and Hollywood are set for a catastrophic evolution, where only the strong will survive? In all honesty, it sure is looking that way.

Social media analytics company MVPindex rank the most popular actors on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus. It accounts for engagement and weekly followers/subscribers. Coming in at first place is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And by no coincidence The Rock was the highest celebrity earner of 2016 pulling in a cool $64.5 million. Now, Dwayne Johnson doesn’t claim to be the greatest actor, or make the greatest movies but he makes MONEY for all involved. And he puts in work when it comes to his social media channels.

We really can’t ignore the fact that a campaign in America was recently created called “Run The Rock 2020” and yes, that’s right – this is the idea that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson should run for the United States President in the year 2020. GQ recently published an article with the headline “Dwayne Johnson for President!”, and the man himself claimed – “I think it is a real possibility”. With over 160 million followers combined on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the idea really isn’t too absurd.

Now on the flipside there are renegade filmmakers who don’t play by the rules. They don’t care who you are or how many people will follow you to the other side of the earth (on social media), if you are right for the part they will cast you. Take Ex-One Direction pop icon Harry Styles. Recently cast in Director Christopher Nolan’s war epic, Dunkirk.

Nolan claims, “I don’t think I was that aware really of how famous Harry was… I cast Harry because he fit the part wonderfully and truly earned a seat at the table.”

So, does this instil a flicker of hope amongst those without a heavy social media following? Maybe not. Regardless if Nolan knew about Harry Styles or not, everyone else does. If the exuberant number of teenage girls at the premiere of Dunkirk didn’t give it away (bear in mind this was a World War 2 action/drama shoot-out), actors who have a large reach with social media can make or break a film. Who knows how many of his 21 million plus Instagram followers purchased a movie ticket just to get a glimpse of Mr Styles, but I’m guessing a fair few.

So, what to make of this catastrophic evolution? Well, it really is hard to ignore the overwhelming impact social media is having in entertainment and its spill over into every other aspect of life as we know it.

If you best want to look at the way social media is changing the world as we know it, take a long hard look at Dwayne Johnson. From wrestling in a pair of jocks asking people “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking!?” to potential President of America. You can thank social media in all its glory.

Who knows, maybe Harry Styles can be his running mate.


Sean graduated from Murdoch University in 2017 and went from intern to Account Manager with Coffey & Tea. He also contributes to Social Media Perth.