The Age of the Celebrity
February 18, 2021
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The following is excerpted from Spiritual Safety in the Facebook Age, which is available from Way of Life Literature.
Stacks Image 325902
Celebrities are the gods and goddesses of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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.

- Receive these reports by email


Sharing Policy: Much of our material is available for free, such as the hundreds of articles at the Way of Life web site. Other items we sell to help fund our expensive literature and foreign church planting ministries. Way of Life's content falls into two categories: sharable and non-sharable. Things that we encourage you to share include the audio sermons, O Timothy magazine, FBIS articles, and the free eVideos and free eBooks. You are welcome to make copies of these at your own expense and share them with friends and family. You may also post parts of reports and/or entire reports to websites, blogs, etc as long as you give proper credit (citation). A link to the original report is very much appreciated as the reports are frequently updated and/or expanded. Things we do not want copied and distributed are "Store" items like the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library, print editions of our books, electronic editions of the books that we sell, the videos that we sell, etc. The items have taken years to produce at enormous expense in time and money, and we use the income from sales to help fund the ministry. We trust that your Christian honesty will preserve the integrity of this policy. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward" (1 Timothy 5:18). Questions?

Goal:Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc., the Fundamental Baptist Information Service is an e-mail posting for Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. Our primary goal with the FBIS is to provide material to assist preachers in the edification and protection of the churches.

Offering: Offerings are welcome if you care to make one. If you have been helped and/or blessed by our material offerings can be mailed or made online with with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Paypal. For information see:

Bible College

Way of Life Literature

Publisher of Bible Study Materials

Way of Life Literature

Publisher of Bible Study Materials

Way of Life Bible College