We Are All Famous

Celebrity refers to popular fame and public attention in the media, usually applied to a person, or group of people (celebrity couple, family etc.), or occasionally, to animals or fictional entities. Celebrity status is often associated with wealth (commonly referred to as fame and fortune) and fame can often provide opportunities to make money.

The definition above is the general description supplied by Wikipedia when asked, what is a celebrity.  When we think of celebrities however, our minds instantly race to Hollywood.  We think of Kevin Spacey, or Jennifer Lawrence.  In Hollywood, you don’t even need to have any particular talent to be a celebrity; Kim Kardashian made that clear.  We see a gross annual income of $42M for someone like Robert Downey Jr. and think to ourselves, “Now that is a celebrity.”  But in reality, the definition above needs a few omissions to be considered in the video game business.  Let’s face it, we are all broke…

I’ve taken the liberty of striking through the last sentence in the definition.  Now things are starting to become a bit more clear.  Now; we are all celebrities, we are all famous in waiting.  The moment you subscribe to blogging or social media of any kind, you are at risk of becoming something greater than yourself.  We’ve seen this happen a thousand times; Star Wars geek films himself in a broom closet and goes viral, opinionated Canadian developer gets lambasted for having diarrhea of the mouth, eccentric guy who screams at himself while playing scary games picks up 20M Youtube subscribers, and random female game developer who may or may not have made questionable life choices is suddenly thrust into the attention of people who didn’t even know she was born until about a week ago…

I am deeply sorry for what transpired with our fellow developer, but I hope that we can learn a couple things from this.

First, the internet will never change; there is a limitless influx of new people with new frustrations that they wish to vent into the faceless wild blue web.  There will always be mentally disturbed people who only feel better when someone is under their foot.  I am convinced that even if we had to use our real names online, it would not change their toxic behavior enough to curb the general animosity that brews in the depths of that cesspool we call social media.

Second, be smart.  Understand that we are all famous in waiting.  This is the internet’s greatest gift that none of us wanted.  The moment you are caught for doing something stupid online, it will be too late to erase your past.  There is something eternal about what you do on the internet.

I’m reminded of an episode of Friends (yes I watched it, don’t judge), where the line “We were on a break” was an ongoing theme for roughly the last 3 seasons of that show.  It always popped up at the most “comically” inopportune moments, and became something of an inside joke for the show’s viewers.  It was something that the character did that he simply could not erase from his past; and no one would let him forget it.

Online, there is always another copy, there is always a way to bring it back.  Be smart, be honest, and only be yourself.  If it is something you wouldn’t do in public, or in the company of a loved one, then you probably should consider if you should be doing it at all.

We are all 1 blog, 1 tweet, 1 Facebook post, 1 bad selfie away from being a celebrity; the wrong kind.

If you think about it, there really isn’t much that separates us from Kevin Federline or Paris Hilton or Michael Lohan outside of the choices we make.  Remember; we are all famous now.