Take Two: #Internetfame

Pauline Villegas and Emily Jacobsson

The nature of the internet has changed an unbelievable amount of things, from communication to self-expression. It has even changed one of the most traditional concepts:  fame.

It’s not hard to come across someone on your timeline, on any given social media platform, who has earned the label, “internet famous.” Often, these people don’t necessarily deserve their large following.

Unlike famous actors or singers who work day in and day out honing their craft, internet stars get by simply by posting a selfie a day.

Of course, it is unfair to make generalizations about internet celebrities. Many Youtubers spend hours filming and editing, using their channel as a way to both express themselves and reach out to their viewers.

Their videos contain actual creative content and use Youtube as a platform for their thoughts to be shared. Sadly, the same cannot be applied to most of the others who have achieved fame via social media.

For example, stars on the well-known music app “Musical.ly” have millions of followers just for lip syncing to a popular songs.

These videos are less than 20 seconds long and often incorporate arm movements that barely pass as dancing. This platform has largely become a joke across the internet, but still many of its popular users have gained huge fanbases.

One of the best known Musical.ly users, Jacob Sartorius, rose the fame on the platform and has even started a singing career from it, though any talent he has beyond lip-syncing into his phone is debatable.

Likewise, on Instagram, all it takes to become famous is to have an attractive face and an aesthetically pleasing feed.

This trend applies across most platforms. It is the best looking people, rather than those with something valuable to say or actual talent, who have the biggest audiences. The high follower counts give these “celebrities” more than just popularity. They are given access to opportunities such as record deals and clothing lines. A whole career can be developed from just being popular online. The ease at which they achieve their fame devalues real celebrity.

While the internet is something we should be extremely grateful for, as most of the time it gives people a platform to express themselves and learn about new things, it’s worth evaluating, as a society, the negative effects of a platform that allows someone to rise to fame on no basis.