The reality of fame on social media

by Carol Nasr

As social media does its thing, we have new influencers and events that rise to relevance and fame and are soon forgotten — questioning why society has that influence. This term is called “flash in the pan,” referring to the idea of sudden brief success and fame.

This phenomenon has become much more common recently, and many attribute it to cancel culture.

Many people or events are relevant for a few months but then find social media eventually forgetting they existed. This all goes back to three things: boredom, relevance and cancel culture. Many people have not realized how much cancel culture has truly impacted the perception of lives as well as the relevance of other people and events. Cancel culture tells us how to dress, act and who to surround ourselves with. Our short attention span also plays a huge role in these events of relevance.

Some of these flash-in-the-pan events and influencers, include but are not limited to: Colleen Ballinger, Ariana Grande, Ruby Franke, Gypsy Rose, LaurDIY, Alisha Marie, Charli D’Amelio, James Charles, Addison Rae, etc. … as well as conflicts around the world.

This could result from a choice such as a social media break. A social media break results from someone needing a break from receiving hate comments. “To get away from all that (toxicity) and negativity,” noted Mia Jensen, a first-year nursing student. “When they take breaks sometimes other people come and take their fame.” Then this cycle repeats.

Many people will occasionally wonder what happened to a certain person they once followed or used to view on social media. Kate Velasquez, a molecular, cell & developmental biology student, shared her thoughts on why people stop talking about specific celebrities so quickly. “Cancel culture is so quick … (even) Gypsy Rose is canceled … which is ridiculous, she just came out of jail,” said Velasquez. The instant rise to fame and relevance changes so fast over a few weeks or even days. Those we thought were relevant one day are soon forgotten the next. Velasquez gave a great perspective as she even related cancel culture to the Salem witch trials to compare how cancel culture works with “influencers.”

Many people in this current age want to be an influencer, but lots of people who have risen to fame have been either canceled or not been “famous” for the best reasons. There are many downsides and effects to being famous.

Cecil Moreno, a third-year history student, said, “TikTokers that became very famous in the rise of the app that just disappeared or wouldn’t pop up on my for you page, so I do wonder where they went.”

Many people who rise to fame are only famous in a specific category and with a certain audience. Many of these celebrities and influencers do not make it to mainstream media, especially when compared to someone like Brad Pitt. When thinking about these people who had a sudden rise of fame, in the big picture, none of this is relevant to someone of different interests or generations.

Moreno also mentioned, “More people are getting bored of them (influencers), although I know cancel culture is very big and once someone is deemed canceled then they become an outcast. It’s a matter of boredom.” Still, many people return to see what has happened to the said “canceled” celebrity, wanting to know the outcome of the downfall.

Two major video apps that are vastly different but have both brought people quickly to fame are TikTok and YouTube. “, which then became TikTok, and YouTube have been some of the major platforms that have brought these people their moment of fame,” said Jensen. The era of technology and video journaling has brought a new age of followers and attraction to certain stars. There is someone known for their rise to fame on each of these platforms. TikTok and YouTube helped many influencers achieve fame, but cancel culture was much faster. What may have come as a shock to many Miranda Sings fans became a turning moment when YouTube star Colleen Ballinger was recently canceled.

“Old TV shows on Disney channel or other (types of) shows have brought lots of fame. The issue with TV has become that, once associated with Disney (or a character), it was very hard to make a name for themselves outside of it, such as Dove Cameron, or the guy who played Matt Donavan in The Vampire Diaries,” said Jensen. Not only is social media the way that some of these celebrities become famous, TV also created so many new internet sensations. Just as with social media, though, once a show ended or boredom occurred, any popular aspect vanished.

To hear the truth, we must wait for those who have gotten canceled, forgotten or irrelevant to come back and tell us their story, like Piper Curda did. You probably haven’t thought of what happened to Youtubers like LaurDIY, Alisha Marie or Jake Paul in recent months, or even TikToker Addison Rae. Unless you are still following closely behind these celebrities, they have become unknown to many. YouTube as an app has fallen off and become the prime for cancel culture — anything on YouTube seems to get canceled. The way to stay relevant now is to follow certain trends outlined for you. For instance, TikToker Alix Earle does a great job in keeping to the trends. She has been one of those people who had an instant rise to fame and is overall keeping her relevance.

The consensus: Most didn’t completely fall off the face of the earth, but our habits of social media and boredom have made us “forget” about these sensations and turn our eyes to new people and phenomena. Those who have tried to be relevant again, like Youtubers trying to translate their fame into TikTok stardom, have not been able to achieve that same success again. Social media breaks are a key part of celebrities being forgotten as well as lack of media coverage or too much media coverage equaling boredom. The way we interact with technology is the key reason our behaviors create these questions, influencers and celebrities, as well as discussions around the world are a big part of our everyday entertainment and sometimes we forget that we were once invested as we’ve moved on to something different.

Featured Image Photographed by Finn Martin/BruinLife.

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