How Everyone Became A Celebrity
If you have a social media account, chances are that you know what a “selfie” is. Chances are your twitter feeds, news feeds, and whatever other feeds you may have are littered with tidbits of personal information and self-made images of a private nature. In fact, it’s very probable that there are people in your friends list whom you’ve never met or talked to, about who you know much more than you ever would’ve wanted to know.
The Internet is a very, very powerful thing. And it’s quite simple, too: for all people involved in its existence, it is a massive network in which one can literally say anything and everything to anyone and everyone. Whatever you do or say or announce, with the right keywords it can be found by any random person on the network – and provided you direct your efforts properly, it can be forced down the gullet of any one of your hundreds of online peers. It’s a massive unadulterated network that may have some rules here and there but remains to be in its entirety a very chaotic hive mind.
This hive mind is not so much one singular entity that spans its system of thinking across the entirety of the Internet, it’s a massive network of smaller hive minds that fit into certain subcultures and genres that dominate individual niches and spheres. Firstly, and foremost of all, is the social media hive mind and its system – at first, this system was propagated mostly by teens and celebrities, but the popularity of its method has somehow infected all sorts of inhabitants, turning the majority of all people on Facebook and Twitter into what I’d essentially call closet exhibitionists.
The creation and popularization of social media in the first world and its seamless and incredibly frightening integration with the rest of society has managed to turn most of its user base into this massive broadcasting populace, determined to undermine every single aspect of privacy. Gone is the good old-fashioned firewall of safety that decided what was public and what was private – in fact, it’s become so out-of-place in this particular niche that its actually considered old-fashioned. It’s completely normal to tweet out that you’re going through an intensely personal and emotionally scarring period in your life to half a thousand strangers, or that you’re pregnant with two children to a few thousand Facebook friends. People of all walks of life have become micro-celebrities, with fans and subscribers and followers, who listen to their every word and actively cling to their existence.
Whatever urge was fulfilled when reality TV first made its rounds through the television system, that urge is now being fulfilled a thousand times over from all directions with the flood of personal information presented by people in your own social circles.
Many of these accounts require some kind of confirmation, such as a follow-back on Twitter or some mutual friendship on Facebook, but many of them are completely open and available for the whole world to look upon, making each and every one of their social media profiles highly edited and falsely bloated online renderings of the Truman Show.
I say falsely bloated, because with the sudden flood of people spilling their personal lives over the Internet for some manner of release, many of them do so for simply because they enjoy the attention – they enjoy this two-bit version of celebrity fame. And in seeking the constant and never-ending flow of such attention, they begin releasing fake information and made-up dramas, turning their accounts into blog-type soap operas rather than actual personal profiles.
And on top of all of this, on top of this new wave of Internet narcissism and fame-seeking, comes the business opportunities, the billion-dollar ideas like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, with their incredible ability to monetize and market ANYTHING. Social media platforms and file sharing sites of all manners grow all over the Internet like mushrooms after a nice cool rain. People immediately jump from one to another, riding an endless wave of platforms, establishing themselves as virtual socialites in one and in the next.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when looking at some of these – teenagers with 20,000 tweets and a quarter as many followers, web celebrities and bloggers who mingle their topics with copious amounts of personal details and dog pictures, vloggers whose lives have become the subjects of endless scrutiny and cyber-bullying, and its also quite tempting to fall into the corporate trap of social media and pour out every single consumer detail and potential marketing tidbit on the large network. After all, that’s what corporations and businesses do – they lure you in. Only for the first time, they’re not selling you anything – they’re buying your information in exchange for an outlet of self-gratification – because in the end, it’s all about the viewer and the presenter: on one end, we all have egos that require copious amounts of stroking, and on the other, we all love a good peep show.