“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” — Andy Warhol, 1968
T

oday, 2 billion people are equipped with an internet-using smartphone that can capture moments and post them on social media for the 3.8 billion active social media users to see. (*nervously sweats*)


While some might be encouraged by this massive global audience increasing their chances of becoming internet famous, the other 50% “never want to go viral.” 


People are starting to slink back from the limelight because many have taken notice of the nasty effects of internet fame. Below are a few of the great downfalls of internet stardom and some tips for how you (and your brand) can avoid them. 


Ruined Reputation

The internet and social media have made it possible for a video to receive millions of views in only a few short hours. As content is able to spread like wildfire across platforms for the world to see, it’s quite unfortunate when the content that goes viral is something mortifyingly embarrassing and reputation-ruining. 


Be aware of whatever you say, do, or post publicly because it could potentially be seen by anyone and everyone. The internet has no secrets. Pictures, videos, and text can be whizzed around the world and back before you have time to delete it. 


Tips for marketers: Remember these effects when posting videos or pictures of either your employees or influencers you collaborate with. Going viral because of something embarrassing can take a toll on one’s career, relationships, and personal life. 


Cyberbullying 

Another downfall of being in the social media spotlight is cyber-bullying. The stats are disheartening, with nearly 70% of Americans saying they have personally been exposed to online cruelty. Obviously, when someone is famous, they’re more likely to be exposed to cyberbullying and negativity because they reach a far larger audience. 


When a famous social media figure is also a minority, they’re more likely to be exposed to cyber-hatred (racially or ethnically-inclined hate speech on social media). This is one of the ugliest sides of social media we know, in which radicalized social media trolls post racist and hateful comments on the posts of those belonging to minority communities.  


Tips for marketers: Always demonstrate empathy while online. Don’t post rude, negative, or hateful comments or imagery on social media. Remember to triple-check whatever you are publishing online and make sure that it is not offensive or could be taken the wrong way.   


If you are exposed to threatening hate speech, know the ways to report it. Together, we can help make social media and the internet a more inclusive and collaborative space! 


Dangerous 

Chasing internet fame can lead some down a dangerous road ... literally. Take the Car Surfing Challenge for example. In this challenge, participants would “surf” on top of a car moving at a high speed. This challenge tragically took the lives of seven teenagers in 2016.  


Dangerous challenges are not uncommon on social media, and successful participants can earn millions of views and instant internet fame. However, the risk is much greater than the reward, and chasing internet-fame by attempting dangerous challenges can lead to the loss of life. 


Tip for marketers: Don’t attempt dangerous challenges or stunts to post on social media. If a post does include a dangerous stunt executed by professionals, be sure to include a disclaimer that discourages amateurs from attempting it. 


Detrimental Health Effects 

Being internet famous can also take a serious toll on one’s emotional and physical health. Social media fame causes one to constantly self-evaluate and compare themselves to what they see on other people’s popular accounts. This can lead to a comparison trap; a headspace that causes one to strive for unattainable perfection and constantly feel inadequate. Sadly, these feelings of inadequacy can result in anxiety, depression, and/or obsessive-compulsive disorders. 


Limit your screen time. When one becomes completely consumed with their blossoming social media account and the brand they are creating, it’s easy to become obsessed. Remember to take breaks and enjoy other aspects of your life. 


It’s also important to remember to reduce the amount of time you spend “stalking” others’ accounts to avoid the comparison trap. Always reach out to someone if you are suffering due to mental health conditions. You can reach a national support and referral hotline here.


Tips for Marketers:  Remember that your brand has power and influence and even a few posts relating to positive mental health and care can destigmatize a lot of issues in the field. Brands like JanSport have launched campaigns aimed at promoting positive mental health among teens that provided resources to its audience and monetary support to organizations seeking to help on a larger scale. 


Conclusion

It’s important to pursue and handle internet fame with care. Treat yourself and others with kindness and empathy, report online hatred, and avoid performing challenges to post on social media that could result in your own injury or the injury of others. 


With these things in mind, know that internet fame comes with a lot of influence. Use it wisely!

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