How social media has changed what it means to be a celebrity


From Digital Trends:

Even in the 1990s, the line between fame and obscurity was easy to find – this was before the advent of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, when you were generally famous for being an actor or a sports star, a politician or a pundit. There were many paths to renown, but they all involved networking, going through agents, and “getting a big break.” You got your break, you became a public figure, then you gained fame.

But the rules have been changing, and social media and the rise of smartphone culture have substantially altered how celebrities are treated and how people gain the vast platform of fame. The old rules don’t work. Starlets’ breakdowns aren’t concealed by publicists; they’re obsessively documented by gawkers and the stars themselves on the Internet. In the 90s, President Clinton got caught in a sex scandal due to audiotapes and DNA evidence. In 2011, Congressman Anthony Weiner’s ignominious “Weinergate” embarrassment unfolded on Twitter.

But the lives of celebrities don’t just fall apart on the Internet – sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can also catapult people to levels of fame they’d otherwise never reach.

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