I was on a press trip in Satun, by invitation of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, when I met my first Net Idol. It had been a harrowing boat ride and we were finding our feet on a spectacular deserted island which promised many photo opportunities. I’d taken a few pictures and was proudly uploading them onto my Instagram and Facebook accounts when a good looking young man asked me to take a photo of him. We started chatting and I asked what publication he was from. He told me that he was a Net Idol. I had no idea what that meant, but he told me that he was invited because of his following on social media. I soon friended him on Facebook and discovered that since we had started chatting about 20 minutes previously, the photo I took of him had already generated 3,700 likes on Facebook, a mere fraction of his 80,000 Facebook and 95,500 Instagram followers. It was sobering to realise the impact of his post when compared to the dozen or so reactions I had received during the same time period. When we arrived at Koh Lipe half an hour later, stepping off our speedboat, a gaggle of girls rushed up to him for selfies. I was intrigued.