Monday Postcard #61 – 15 Minutes of Fame
“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
It feels as if Andy Warhol (or, supposedly a curator behind one of his exhibitions) had known about the new age of “Insta-Fame”, “going viral” and “influencers”. But I think today, it is not about 15 minutes of fame. It is “a few thousands Likes of fame” or the amount of time you stay on peoples newsfeeds.
Barriers to fame seem to have been eradicated – anyone can be famous. Anyone can upload a video on Youtube or share their day on Instagram Stories. Your dog can have 200,000 followers. Maybe you even become so popular that brands pay you for using their products? Because it is more “authentic” than traditional marketing. And then, everything will be solved for you. You will swim in money and everyone will love you.
When I grew up, the majority of boys wanted to become soccer players, the girls models. Probably because it seemed to be the easy path to fame, fortune and money. Today, the Youtubers and “bloggers” have replaced the soccer players and models. I intentionally put “bloggers” in quotation marks because what people associate with bloggers is far from the orginial meaning of the word.
The word “blog” actually refers to a website where somebody publishes their own content, shares advice or discusses topics. This means that the publishers actually have something to say. But a lot of people today think that posting pictures on Instagram of themselves mean they are a blogger. Or, even more aspiring: an “influencer”.
These aspiring influencers compete for Likes on our Instagram Feeds. And I am more often than not shocked what they are willing to do – a colourful collection of boobs, sexy looks, pictures in underwear. Women objectifying themselves for fame. Nothing new, but the digital age has definitely accelerated the trend. I remember when Paris Hilton started the trend of being famous for being famous. When Kim Kardashian started out and capitalized on her friendship with Paris Hilton. It started a new trend of “influencers” without standing for any particular topic or cause – showing off their looks and investing in their outward appearence is the only thing which made them famous.
And it seems to me that even women who call themselves “feminists”, “girlbosses” or “hustlers” think they need to adopt the same strategies. I had been following a woman who repeatedly refers to herself as a feminist – at the same time, she started to post more and more half-naked pictures on her account. Once a picture of us is online, it is out, it will never leave the internet. Is it really worth it?
How many of those so-called “influencers” really do influence other people? Are they influencers because they make them buy products? Real influencers to me are people – not necessarily celebrities – who shape our society and really have an impact on our lives. Whether it was the Sufragettes fighting for women’s rights, volunteers in town councils, writers, scientists, businessmen and businesswomen. Those who are not too scared to speak up and stand up for themselves and others. Those who often do it without any materialistic motivation. Those who risk becoming a target for hate. Just because you advertise soap to me on Instagram you are not a blogger or influencer.
We should actually ask ourselves: Do we really want to become famous? And what is the cost of fame? While you will lose your privacy, not everyone will like you and your opinion. Online hate is nasty. I am currently reading a book by journalist and feminist Anna Herbst and was shocked to read about the comments, emails and personal attacks she receives on a daily basis. Could you deal with all the hate and being a target? Would you really give up your privacy for a few likes and a bit of money? Is it really worth it?
I consider myself a blogger, in the original sense of the word. I do not do it for my “15 minutes” or “few thousand likes of fame”. I enjoy sharing my opinion and discussing it with you. And I hope that all my content inspires you. And maybe I even manage to influence you to become the person you want to become.