The Fame Trap: How the Pursuit of Fame Is Warping American Society
“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” – Andy Warhol
Fame used to be quite the rare commodity if only because there were fewer ways to become famous in the first place. Radio really started to take off in the 1920s, half of all American families acquired a TV in 1955, and the internet only started to be widely used in the early '90s. Facebook came along in 2004, YouTube in 2005, and Twitter in 2006. In 1991, there were 90 adult magazines in America. Today, there are millions of porn websites. The first UFC was in 1993. Amazon sells roughly 15 million regular books per year and another 22 million on Kindle. Amazon did not exist in 1993.
Because of the vast number of websites on the internet looking for something to cover, the almost inexhaustible number of large niches out there, and the nature of social media, fame seems closer than ever for most people and for that reason, more people than ever seem to be seeking it.
We have reality TV shows, where unstable, explosive people are put together and the rest of us “oooh and aaah” at the crazy things they do. Are you good at a video game? Well, there are plenty of people like you with hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitch and YouTube. Some people even go pro. There are also more than a few attractive women putting up pictures of themselves on Instagram looking sexy and getting contributions towards, well, whatever it is they do on Patreon. YouTube also has plenty of personalities making big bucks playing a role. Some of the numbers are just staggering.
WHAT GIRLS THINK ON THEIR FIRST PERIOD: 4.9 million views
I only ate LUNCHABLES for 24 hours: 2.5 million views
LOGAN PAUL - WHY 2018 WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT YEAR OF MY LIFE: 5.7 million views
RATING YOUTUBER APOLOGY VIDEOS 12 million views
Incidentally, the #1 channel on YouTube, PewDiePie, has 80 million subscribers. That’s greater than the population of the entire United States in 1900.
Of course, when you are talking about micro-doses of fame, they’re even easier to get.
Go scream at Ted Cruz and his wife while they’re having dinner and you can guarantee that tens of millions of people will see it. Tell a sad story about how someone didn’t tip you or a fast-food worker was mean to you and you can make headlines all over the country. Say something witty or maybe even not all that witty and if it catches the eye of someone famous and he retweets it, you may get tens of thousands of new followers and hundreds of thousands of likes. Candace Owens’ entire career on the Right is built on the fact that Kanye West liked what she was tweeting. And there are more than a few people with 50,000+ followers because Donald Trump retweeted them. Get enough Instagram or Twitter followers and you get treated like you’re important. Are you famous if you have 50,000 or 100,000 people following you on some social network? Not really, but the level of validation must feel like it. Then, there’s Joe and Jill Average's Facebook page. Here’s the best selfie they took out by the lake. It only took them 17 tries to get that shot. Here they are on a trip to Las Vegas, beside a pretty girl, making a goofy face at a statue.