Achieving Fame, The Rise and Fall of Internet Celebrities

In this day and age, the term celebrity is broad. There is a spectrum, ranging from professional celebrities, like recording artists and actors, to the more modern, unconventional celebrity, including YouTubers and TikTok stars. Technology, more specifically the Internet, has made it extremely easy for the average person to create a platform for themselves and create a career out of making content online. However, this oversaturation of content creators makes it very difficult for people to stand out and gain a massive following.

On TikTok, for example, almost anyone can acquire a viral video. I, myself, and a few of my friends have all achieved this feat. However, it does not mean anything, as we do not have the ‘clout’ that many associates with doing so. To many, our videos are just a one-time viewing experience, and seldom watchers actually want more content from us.

You see stars like Charli D’Amelio and lilhuddy with millions of followers appearing in Super Bowl commercials and making hundreds of thousands of dollars with brand deals. Pretty soon, everyone will be on the app trying to emulate the success of these teenagers, to no avail.
This trend is not exclusive to TikTok. We have seen it across all social media apps, from MySpace to YouTube before this. There comes a time when there is just not enough attention to go around and there are 50 staple celebrities tied to a certain app.

Very few of these influencers, however, can successfully make the transition into mainstream, traditional media. YouTubers like Joji, Troye Sivan, Justin Bieber, and even Ariana Grande have found cross-platform success, starring in TV shows and recording and selling music. However, there are influencers on these social media apps who have not been able to achieve the same success, often being trapped on the platform they started on.

Even a consistent following is not stable enough to sustain someone’s living wage without a backup job. Natalie Tran, also known as community channel on YouTube, has around 2 million followers, with each video raking in an astonishing average of 1.5 million views, has an office job just in case the ad revenue and brand deals run dry. Internet fame can be an exciting thing that opens many doors for some people. But for others, it is unreliable. One viral video is not enough justification to drop out of school (trust me, kids, I’ve thought about it).