With the traditional broadcast model of mass media in irreversible decline thanks to the rise of social networks, the trend-setters of Hollywood and Madison Avenue are now being challenged by a groundswell of new social media influencers.

These social influencers are people with the passion and entrepreneurial hustle to create their own audience using online channels such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram.

These new influencers are fast becoming the driving force behind how ideas spread and they are leading new kinds of decentralized tribe-like networks of people who share similar views and visions of the future.

The “Choose Yourself” Era

Being a social media influencer gives one enormous power to share ideas and motivate others to action. Many of these new social influencers are choosing to create their own products and services, while others are promoting movements or products that align with their individual values and lifestyle.

What’s emerging is a new influencer class of creative leaders and social media entrepreneurs who aren’t auditioning or asking permission from traditional broadcast media outlets to perform. Instead, they are using social media platforms to bypass the traditional gatekeepers and organically build their own audiences by passionately sharing their stories.

Influential blogger James Altrucher calls this new social media landscape the “Choose Yourself” era. This new era is led by the social media creators who are harnessing the power of their smartphone, tablets and laptops to inspire and empower others with thought-provoking stories told with images, videos and written word.

What’s amazing about this shift is we all have the means of creative production at our fingertips now. To understand the magnitude of this paradigm shift and the new frontier of opportunities that it creates, I want to share with you some of the best documentaries that illustrate what’s happening in social media.

These fascinating social media documentaries will give you a glimpse into the future of social media and you can see why personal storytelling reminiscent of aboriginal cultures rules once again in an age where anyone can share a powerful message and build their tribe.

1. The Story of Content

This excellent documentary interviews people at the forefront of the social media and content marketing industries to get their insights into how the digital revolution has created a new range of creative possibilities for individuals and the businesses they create.

In the digital world, everyone needs to be in the business of storytelling. We all need to think like media companies and build our personal brands by creating and sharing stories that reflects our values and demonstrates our skills. To distinguish yourself in a highly competitive world, you must continually develop your creative skills and talents by sharing useful content and ideas with your social networks.

2. Generation Like:

When I was coming of age at the turn of the century, selling out was considered a bad thing. Teenagers don’t seem to see it that way anymore. Say hello to what media theorist Douglas Rushkoff calls “Generation Like.”

Today, savvy young people dream of building their own audiences on social media so they can be discovered by big brands who choose them for their social influence and reputation. Douglas Rushkoff delivers hard-hitting social commentary on the pros and cons of this new generational mindset.

Watch the full documentary for free on PBS Frontline’s website.

3. Influencers: How Trends and Creativity Become Contagious

This short documentary is a must-watch gem. It explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity “tips” into the mainstream and becomes contagious. It condenses many of the ideas of Malcolm Gladwell’s landmark book The Tipping Point into a short documentary.

The film has some outstanding interviews with social media influencers in music, fashion and entertainment. The filmmakers attempt to help you gain a deeper understanding of what characteristics make a person truly influential.

4. Us Now

Most informed citizens are tired of being lead by corrupt establishment politicians and they are demanding significant changes to avoid active social unrest. Fortunately, creative people aren’t waiting around for politicians to approve of their ideas. Instead, they are using new social media and crowdsourcing technologies to invent new ways of political representation.

Imagine there was a government without the crooked politicians and the vested business interests that buy their loyalty. A better system would involve informed citizens like you and me in an active role in running our governments at the grassroots level. This is slowly happening and Us Now documents the early innovators who use social media technologies to invent the future of political participation.

5. The Rise of the Superstar Vloggers

Follow the rise of superstar vloggers (Internet slang for video bloggers) and see how they are building massive audiences on YouTube and Snapchat. Many of these influential vloggers have audiences on social media that rival top Hollywood celebrities.

Hosted by English vlogging superstar Jim Chapman, this documentary features some of the most prominent voices in the YouTube Vlogging community and it shows off the “Choose Yourself” D.I.Y. ethic that is motivating the new generation of creators.

These social media influencers are reshaping our media and our culture. They are today’s trend-setters and media entrepreneurs. If you want to build your audience on social media, join my new visual storytelling academy.