There was a time in this nation when being famous wasn’t the goal of virtually everyone. There was a time when people wanted a decent job, the ability to support a family, a promotion and a nice retirement. More and more it is about getting a camera pointed at you, followers, ‘likes,’ or some other such validation given by people that will never be known to that person receiving the accolade.
I’m not sure when it started. I remember when I noticed it, and said “some people.” It was back at the balloon boy incident. If you don’t remember, google it, but this was a particularly peculiar event. A family built some “weather balloon” for some unknown reason and filled it with helium. It had a payload capability underneath it and the balloon somehow got free. Their claim was that their youngest son was in it. National attention was drawn to this balloon. Helicopters were called out, first responders, news crews mobilized. People from all over the nation watched.
Well the kid wasn’t in the balloon, the parents told him to hide in the attic and wait, “for the show.” The boy was discovered safe before long, and the truth was known within days. The cost to the public was in the millions…all for a PR stunt this family wanted to use to simply be famous. I should mention they had unsuccessfully pitched their own reality show prior to this event.
Fast forward to today. You have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and I’m sure a host of others I haven’t even heard of.
When I was out with kids the other day I saw someone taking that “impromptu” Instagram photo. They had lights, a hair and makeup mirror, three cameras (all with a camera person), and a “manager” keeping the public back, in a public place because the backdrop was almost perfect. When I said something I was told “oh she’s a social media personality, follow her she’s great.” I was sucked in, I looked the person up.
I will not mention who she was, but I assure you, you have not heard of her. She specializes in the “look where I am, I just happened to snap this pic” kind of stuff. Grand total following….907. Not 907,000 a total of 907. I personally know scientists with a greater following.
It struck me that this person (or someone on her behalf) was spending real money trying to make her famous.
Then I thought about it some more. I did some looking on a few job sites. Some actually said outside sales people must have a social media following of more than xxxx followers (xxxx changed based on the job).
I thought about it again. As a guy who has published a few books, I have noticed that some publishers and agents will only talk to you if you have a massive social media following already.
Then I looked at the books on my shelf. Decent writers are now ghost writing dead guys (Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum). All because no one will take a risk on a not famous person and try to build that fan base. You have to be famous.
We have really shifted where people, companies, news organizations, and even the voting public don’t seem to care about common sense, or even finding that up coming writer or actor. It is all about flash fame.
We need to get back to normal, and sooner or later this whole thing will crash. It is only a matter of when.