Lotts is constantly connected to her fans through Instagram and Twitter; she plays games with them on her streams hookupdate.net/escort-index/chico/, raffles off PlayStations and Oculus Rifts, and dresses up as their favorite video game and comic book characters at their request. For Lotts, her viewers aren’t just pay-to-play voyeurs but a community of close, personal friends.
Throughout my conversations with Aspen, ber, the conversation always comes back to connection: that same connection that Kelly Holland and Clinton Cox speak of, the one Mark Zuckerberg proselytizes to investors and journalists
“It’s a chat room,” she says. “We’re just all hanging out as friends. They hang out as friends outside of my chat room now, because they’ve met outside of my chat room. I’ve created my own little community within this giant community. And the reward is, you get to see me naked every once in awhile.”
It’s the same thing that drove millions of people to flock to . Cox says he doesn’t see the difference between what these girls do and what plays out on social media every day, and with mainstream celebrities like Kim Kardashian proudly exposing their bodies on mainstream apps like Instagram, it’s hard to argue with that logic.
But just as in the real world, that pursuit of connection online has real consequences. Mounting evidence shows that the more we connect online, the more isolated we feel in real life. Loneliness is a very real thing.
Live webcamming gives lonely, introverted people all over the world the opportunity for human connection. For Lotts and her friends Amber Vixx and Stefanie Joy, that connection isn’t a one-way experience. Lotts says that the most successful cam models are the shy ones, the ones who never leave their houses. She says that since she took up camming she’s spent more and more time at home. Today, she rarely leaves her house, except for conventions, going as far as to have her groceries delivered to avoid the outside world. Her computer has become, at least for her, more than a source of income or a way of cashing in on male desire.
“It is a security blanket,” she says. “That’s exactly how I put it. As long as I have it on, I feel okay.”
H arli Lotts (not her real name) knows her audience better than just about anyone I’ve ever met in online media. In just two years, the bubbly blonde from El Paso, Texas, has gone from manager of a rent-to-own store to rising internet starlet by making personal connections with a loyal online audience. She arrived at our interview on a sweltering Friday morning in a hotel suite on the Las Vegas strip with a small entourage of two other budding social media influencers, Amber Vixx and Stefanie Joy (also not their names).
After our interview, she and her friends will probably hit the pool at a local apartment complex and do what millennials do: eat pizza and play out their lives in front of tiny, portable cameras. During our wide-ranging conversation she’ll talk confidently about the business of live streaming video, the ephemeral nature of online fame, Rashida Jones’ controversial Netflix documentary Hot Girls Wanted and the markup on consumer eyewear.
“Not until right now, actually, talking to you. I’ve just realized that, yeah, like, probably it’s my best friend right now. It helps me through everything,” she says.
Lotts’ computer isn’t just her best friend — it’s her main revenue generator and her connection, not only to her fans but also to the outside world. Lotts is a social media star in the truest sense of the word. She is one of a growing number of independent, live streaming video personalities who can make thousands of dollars in just a few hours broadcasting mostly unremarkable acts for a captive internet audience. She just happens to do some of it naked.