Josh and Daniel never even guessed that their snapchat stories would go viral, and yet, they did. Maybe it’s because of Daniel’s white vans being an everyday staple of his wardrobe, or maybe it’s because of Josh’s dynamic narration, whatever the reason, these two California boys blew up the Internet in early February. #DamnDaniel was the biggest thing since Kim Kardashian’s butt (and that’s saying something). These insta-stars are a prime example of the power of social media today: you can literally post anything and someone somewhere will find it funny. Social media has created a monster, and that monster is the need to be recognized.
It started with Youtube. For the first time people could broadcast their faces, voices, and opinions for the whole world to see, and boy, was it addicting. Now about 10 new artists of some sort, be it musicians, makeup artists, or one man bands, are discovered per day on Youtube, and their followings are only increased by the amount of social media coverage they get through outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Combined, these social media sites have paved the way for a new group of celebrities. They hold their own against the Brangelinas of the world, using their ability to consistently broadcast to expand — and captivate their audiences. It’s the new form of entertainment-short videos that pose a topic that can be continued, as opposed to long movies or tv shows that last for several hours and then impose a forced waiting time. With social media, the stimulation flow is almost endless. We can get updates on the celebrities we follow on Twitter instantaneously, and we can see everything they are doing as soon as they post it on Instagram. Sounds great, right?
No. Because of the easy access to everything, our culture has become dominated by the need to garner admiration through followers. Every picture we post has to be vetted through a checklist of qualifications: does it have the right angle? Did you take it with the right exposure? Did you use the right filter? These are supposed to be the best way to get likes, to gain followers, and to show the world how incredibly amazing your life is. With our life stories out for all to see, we’ve become narcissistic. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because our personal view of ourselves has become much higher throughout the years. The #bodypositivity campaign, No Makeup Monday, and many other self awareness movements have brought people’s opinions of themselves up to themselves. However, while our personal view of ourselves has been steadily increasing, our interest in others is not. Everyone’s life is more than something on the page or on the screen, people have more to their life than what you see in pictures, and those new celebrities on Youtube and Vine have a lot of entertaining things to show, but there’s always more behind the scenes.
So for all of you who want to be internet stars: get outside of your social media sites, sit down, and have a real conversation with a real person. You’ll learn more than you would have from watching that new makeup tutorial or silly cat video.