The Price of Fame

When you take a good look at young celebrities these days, you have to laugh a little.  At he same time, you have to pity them because there’s nothing they won’t do to stay in the spotlight.  Many have been reduced to marketing themselves, whether or not they have talent. Often, someone’s “talent” is depicted through how outrageous an image they present. Lady Gaga was a prime example of this when she decided to wear a fake meat outfit to the recent Music Video Awards.  It’s highly debatable whether many current celebrities really stay true to themselves and not something their publicist came up with for them.  This might be because they are told that who they “are” won’t sell and that they need to be something else to successfully market themselves. They learn that if they dress like Lady Gaga or do something scandalous it will get them noticed, so they lose their self-respect and in some ways their identity.  Oftentimes, when instant celebrities can no longer maintain their image they are replaced and disappear, becoming “who was that person again?”  Fame is short-lived for the majority of celebrities, and a similar rule applies to average people who become internet sensations.

People have always had a big desire to be famous, but not that long ago access to large media outlets was pretty limited. Today, however, all you need is a computer and an internet connection to get your message out. Making it possible for anyone to promote themselves and gain some fame for a day or even longer.  Ever since websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter started, people have turned the web into their personal platform, showing a willingness to share just about anything just to get some recognition.  Because it’s so easy to broadcast yourself to a potentially unlimited audience, it is downright scary to see exactly how much information is shared. There is a simple unspoken rule many people fail to grasp, and that is: just because you can post something does not mean you should.  Some people expose more about themselves than most viewers would ever want or care to know about them.  Especially disturbing is that some people have invented new images of themselves, posting a mixture of facts and lies about themselves and others, all in the name of fame.

Take Facebook, a place where anything and everything goes.  If you’re a teenager, you may not think about the lasting effects of the posts you make.  Though you will find mostly teenagers with this problem, adults can also be blissfully unaware of how difficult it is to take back something once its been posted. For example, how often do we have to read about someone’s not being hired or even fired for something they posted on Facebook. People can blame the site all they want and claim that their account was suppose to be private, but they miss the fact that nobody controls what they post but themselves. A little responsibility would go a long way in this area!     

It’s bad enough that personal information is over-shared on major web hosting sites like those mentioned earlier, but now these sites share your information with marketers for business purposes.  To make matters worse, hackers and scammers have no difficulty getting a hold of “private” data from these websites. An article on Yahoo, “6 Things You Should Never Reveal on Facebook,” points out that more than 60% of people don’t even think twice about sharing their home address and phone number. In this recent survey, people also did not bother to block out strangers with privacy settings.  Users just don’t seem to care who sees what they post on the web, which, in many ways, is worrisome.

It’s because of this desire and willingness to “put themselves out there,” people sometimes become internet sensations. But how much is someone’s privacy worth now days? And where do you draw the line? Major celebrities realize they give up their privacy because it’s that publicity that keeps them afloat. But the average person will give that up for what? To be some sensation on YouTube for less then a week and never be seen again?

The option to make internet accounts private has not stopped users from sharing pointless and vulgar content that has been posted. We see this reckless behavior reflected on today’s generation. If you were to go to any high school, I am sure you would find that the majority of the population has some kind of web-hosting account. And because it has become the “in” thing, you will find that most of the teenagers would not think twice about posting a trashy photo of themselves. These young people don’t seem to care how they portray themselves or understand the consequences of their actions. If celebrities wear racy clothes, or show dramatic and pornographic pictures of themselves, then teenagers think they should do the same. People, young kids especially, need to think about the seriousness of posting their identity on the web for the whole world to see, and to understand that doing so is foolish and can even be hazardous.

If I were to label this generation, it would be to call it the self-absorbed, attention-seeking generation. For example, it seems like people must Twitter every move they make as if it’s so important the world needs to follow them. This is because celebrity “Wanna- be’s” forget that a luxurious lifestyle is only one part of the story. Being famous is not all that its cracked up to be, and there’s big price to pay for fame: your freedom and anonymity. And while it’s not a crime to have a Facebook, YouTube or Twitter account, it’s how you use these sites that matters.

 People need to think about what they want and if what they post will help them reach their goal without revealing too much of their identity. Because just like many forgotten or ridiculed celebrities, you could be remembered for something far worse. Examples of sad endings are more and more often scattered in the news. Being unforgettable can be a bad thing as well as a good. People should value privacy more because it becomes impossible to get it back, once its been posted for the world to see.     

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