The age of the celebrity began with the moving picture industry. There were prominent people before then who drew the attention of the public--national and world leaders, the very wealthy, prominent criminals, and those who did special exploits, such as Nellie Bly, who traveled around the world in 72 days in 1889-90--but it was the moving picture industry that created the age of the celebrity. They were called “movie stars,” “movie queens,” and they became household names. The first were the silent movie gods and goddesses, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Lillian Gish, Carole Lombard, Rudolph Valentino, Billy Dove, Greta Garbo, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Laurel and Hardy. They tended to live scandalous lives from that era forward.
Ever since, a large portion of the public has been fascinated with media celebrities, even though this pursuit is pure vanity, pure a-musement, of zero eternal value. It is the very opposite of “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). These are not wise people who can help me be wise.
This fascination is a major element of social media. Never has there been a time when following one’s favorite celebrities has been easier and more effectual. “Nowadays celebrities and social media have a special bonding” (SEOTechyWorld).
The vast majority of the most popular Twitter feeds are owned by movie, television, music, and professional sports celebrities. The top thirty include Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Christiano Ronaldo, Lady Gaga, and Ellen DeGeneres, Ariana Grande, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez, Britney Spears, Shakira, and Jimmy Fallon, LeBron James, Miley Ray Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez, Bruno Mars, Oprah Winfrey.
The most popular YouTube channels are celebrity driven: PewDiePie (video gamer), T-Series (Indian pop music), Canal KondZilla (Brazilian music videos), Justin Bieber, World Wrestling Entertainment, Zee Music (Indian pop music), Dude Perfect, Eminem, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran (rocker), Taylor Swift, Ellen Degeneres, Rihanna, eirubiusOMG (gamer), Fernanfloo (gamer), Marshmello (rocker).
The 10 most popular Facebook pages are owned by Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson, Will Smith, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Leo Messi, Eminem, Vin Deisel, Shakira, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 20 most popular Instagram accounts are Chistiano Ronaldo, Ariana Grande, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Selena Gomez, Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Lionel Messi, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Khloe Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry. These have a total of more than 2 billion followers.
But social media has done far more than facilitate following one’s favorite media celebrities. It has made it possible for every individual to be a celebrity. A person who only knows a few people in real life can use social media to gain hundreds, sometimes thousands and even millions, of “friends” and “followers” who “like” their postings.
The “selfie” is me as a celebrity.
Through social media, I can create myself as a brand.
With the aid of high-tech smartphone cameras and filters, the individual can enhance his image even more effectively than the professional techniques used by movie stars and models of a past generation. The average Joe can make his own high quality movies with himself as the star. The average Jane can build her own Facebook world, Snapchat story, and Instagram life.
“Instagram is the crowning achievement of that decades-long development that we have called the ‘celebrification’ of everyday life and ordinary people” (The Attention Merchants, p. 314).
God’s people must understand these things and not be swept along by vanity of the celebrity age. Those who know Christ personally and have His indwelling Spirit and love His Word know better than to pursue a “selfie” life and to try to create themselves as a “brand” via social media. They have far better, wiser things to do with their fleeting time.
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Way of Life Literature
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Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials