Becoming internet famous: Is it really as “simple” as it’s made out to be?

As Julia Allison is quoted saying in the Bennett reading, “technology gives us direct power over our brand” (346). According to the Internet World Statistics, approximately 80% of Americans use the internet. This is a HUGE demographic that is literally available at our fingertips. Many people have thus turned to the internet to try and become famous by marketing themselves. However, in order to reach such a large audience, people have to be skilled at promoting their self images. While searching online for tips on online self promotion, I came across a HubPages post called “How to become internet famous in 10 simple steps”. The title seemed promising – it would teach me everything I needed to know to be famous and it would do it in only 10 easy steps! I will devote the rest of this post to reviewing over these “simple” steps.

Step 1 is to find your passion. Unfortunately, the website didn’t really explain how this would help me on my quest to become famous. My assumption is that I would then devote my super awesome internet fame to my secret talent or favorite hobby. This would then make my webpage seem more authentic because it is based on my interests / personality, which would help with the ratings because people want to see authenticity.

Step 2 is to learn how to develop a website, particularly in learning HTML code. At this point I knew I was screwed. I know next to nothing about designing websites!! I agree that this is an important step, but I think that a link to a website development course or something would have been VERY appreciative at this point.

Step 3 is to join lots of social networking sites and make lots of friends. This is an important step because you want to start building up an audience following as well as get your name out on as many different sites as possible. More followers mean better ratings, which would then help you become more internet famous!

Step 4 is to always reply to people’s comments and that private messages should be avoided at all costs. I’m not sure I agree completely with this tip. Based on what we learned in class about appearing authentic, I understand that the site is trying to help us seem personable by taking the time to publicly respond to everyone’s comments. However, I do think that some posts can be personal or just plain weird/ creepy and thus not deserve a public response.

Step 5 is to build a website that suits our personality and to update it frequently. The point of this step is twofold: to seem authentic (in that it is reflecting who you are as a person) and also to seem interesting (you don’t want to bore your future audience with the same old stuff every week). I think, based on the reasoning, that this step will work in helping create a loyal fanbase.

Step 6 is to reach out to your friends to endorse you. The article doesn’t really go into why this is important, but I think it would be helpful in creating at least an initial loyal fanbase because it is people that you can count on to check you out. At the very least, it’ll help boost your numbers!!

Step 7 is to go out and buy marketing books or taking marketing classes. Woah, suddenly it’s not as simple as the title makes it appear!! While this step COMPLETELY goes against the idea that marketing yourself is something quick and easy, it is a very important step. There’s a whole science to marketing so at least a brief skimming of a marketing book for some tips might come in handy when you’re trying to sell yourself.

Step 8 is to always thank people when they leave comments. This is very similar to Step 4, both of which are aimed at seeming authentic and personal.

Step 9 is to be careful with sharing personal information. I’m iffy about this step. On the one hand, I do think it is important to keep some information personal for security reasons. However, this step also contradicts the idea of authenticity behind internet celebrities, because you are holding some information back from your audience, which makes you seem less authentic. I think people need to find a middle ground with this one in order to be successful, because you do want to cultivate the image of authenticity, while at the same time you do want to be safe.

Step 10, of course, is to believe in yourself and have fun. I think this step, although cliché, is very important. Not everyone will become super famous, so it is important to try and have fun with it too.

In the end, after reviewing over these steps, I realize that becoming an internet celebrity is NOT as simple as the title makes it out to be. In order to really be successful, people need to do at least some research into at least basic website design and basic marketing principles. Since I know next to nothing about both of these topics, nor do I have a desire to learn about these things, I’ve decided that internet fame is probably not in my future. I think I’ll just stick to chatting with friends on facebook 🙂

2 thoughts on “Becoming internet famous: Is it really as “simple” as it’s made out to be?

  1. In reading your post I appreciate your step by step analysis of the article you read. I am interested in step nine in particular. I do understand your hesitation about not sharing all information, especially in terms of authenticity. I think, though, the article means don’t share information which might endanger someone, and there is a way to maintain an authentic persona while refraining from divulging too much information. The authenticity of a person does not have to be directly tied the intimate details of one’s life. As long as one seems to be portraying themselves in a way that makes sense with what information the audience can glean about the individual then that should be enough to create an air of authenticity.

  2. I was also intrigued by step 9 of your analysis. The idea that I have gathered from this article is to express yourself and become famous for who you are and what you do. I agree with the both of you that not all information should be shared, especially over the internet. However, I feel as though the people that have become famous over the web have already shared so much personal information over the web that finding the nitty-gritty on them may not be as difficult as we think. Most people post ridiculous amounts of info on the web and in today’s tech world we can find just about anything on someone. I feel as if those who search and strive for fame online are signing away their privacy once they gain any sort of a fan-base.

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