The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) earlier this month produced a video report - Meet the Web's New Celebrities: Teachers by Kelly Grant in which she reports that "the new web celebrities aren't pop stars or funny cats, they're teachers". Teachers and professors can "reach a huge student and fan base by moonlighting on-line". All you have to do is check out YouTube EDU to see how Google has a huge number of partners (including yours truly) doing exactly this - there are perhaps thousands more teachers/educators who are not YouTube Partners doing the same thing.
The WSJ report tells us that what is happening is that on-line education is "validating and creating a market for good teaching" and talks about teachers creating brands and earning extra money, including one teacher mentioned who earned $250,000 last year on via Udemy - Wow! Also there seems to be a opportunity for University professors who don't make much extra money to benefit by being invited to seminars and to speaker circuits. Check out the WSJ video for yourself and see what you think:
In my own modest way I have been doing this for almost 7 years now. Apart from once being reported on Silicon Republic in 2011 as a "YouTube Hit" for reaching 500,000 viewers, I have yet to reach celebrity or rock star status. What I think I am, and thousands of others are too, is a "micro-celebrity" - Clive Thompson (writing in Wired back in 2007) describes this as a "phenomenon of being extremely well known not to millions but to a small group". In the world of the Internet this is the most that many of us can aspire to. Many on-line educators have financial support behind them through sponsorship or from their Colleges. Most of us simply create videos that our own students need and make them available to others for free. The Internet is the great modern day judge - if the videos are good, people will watch and learn. If they are not good, they will not watch and will go to learn somewhere else.
Still - I'd fancy the idea of being an education celebrity - maybe as former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman might say: "(Si Si) Je suis un Rock Star"!