These days, it seems like every person believes he or she can become famous — just one viral video, Instagram photo series or a blog post away from being a global superstar. And in a way, it’s true. Island Def Jam’s new artist Madison Beer was just another 14-year-old girl on YouTube before Justin Bieber stumbled upon her cover and tweeted it. The same thing happened to Bieber himself.
So, it should come as no surprise that any person with half a decent voice, face or writing skills urges the world to click a few buttons, as some amount of retweets or Facebook likes hold the power to change one’s life.
However, this possibility of becoming famous has had some unfortunate consequences. The world has become saturated with entertainers, or more specifically, people who think they can and should be entertainers regardless of whether or not they possess the necessary talent. In fact, there are so many people who claim to be “the next big thing” that it’s tough to know what “the next big thing” even is.
Are you going to follow Brunette Blogger A, who Instagrams the world while reviewing all of its delicacies, or do you prefer Blonde Blogger B, who seems to do the same thing, but with an Android instead of an iPhone? It was once easy to differentiate quality by the number of views or likes a given social media personality possesses, but when every popular song has hundreds of covers with millions of views (not to mention that one can purchase likes and followers), it’s next to impossible to separate bad from good and good from great.
This situation, along with our ever-dwindling attention spans, has led society to create and value things with low substance, such as a meme here or a Vine there. Andy Warhol said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” but now, it’s more like 15 seconds.
In the midst of all this, we've forgotten that the best way to become and to remain famous is to do something worthy of fame. Marilyn Monroe’s been gone for half a century, but the world will never forget her name. Furthermore, if you make or do something legitimately great, you won’t even have to ask anyone to share or like it – they’ll do it naturally. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, gave this advice in an interview with Charlie Rose:
“Put the vast majority of your energy, attention and dollars into building a great product or service and put a smaller amount into shouting about it, marketing it. Because I know if I build a great product or service, my customers will tell each other. You have to mix in some patience with that, you’re going to have to take a long-term attitude, but if you do that...”