Becoming a meme — The new way to fame?
This single phrase got a spoiled, arrogant teenage girl, a million dollars. Daniel Bregoli (popularly known as Bhad Bhabie), a problematic child with a troubled childhood was brought to the Dr. Phil show by her mother. She saw instant fame after she uttered the words “Catch me outside, how ‘bout that”. She initially went viral on social media, following which she started creating her brand and became a rapper, creating music.
Internet fame can truly do great things to one’s life. No matter how denigrating it is. Look at the Kardashians. They sincerely worked on monetizing a controversy into a billion-dollar life. It is truly the easy way to fame.
Just like this, lots of people have made quite a lot of money from becoming a meme. Yes, you heard that right. You can “become” a meme, as opposed to creating one. The internet is full of them. Even the infamous billionaire Elon Musk communicates and endorses his desired products through memes. It has truly changed how the internet functions. From making people laugh to making careers, it has become the holy grail of fame. Lots of organizations have engaged in Meme Marketing, which has proven to be quite successful.
The number of people who have gotten famous from a random picture or video or even audio is uncountable. Take the new popular audio for example that became a sensation all over Instagram and TikTok. It was of a journalist based out of the UK named Louis Theroux narrating the lyrics of his rap song during an interview. The lyrics itself was quite catchy, and someone put an autotune on it and made it into an actual rap song. Of course, only the autotuned version went viral first, and people were shocked to realize that it wasn’t an actual song. Nonetheless, it became viral, and the journalist is now making an actual song out of it, claiming its rights. Imagine the money he would make from the royalty of that song when just a cheap autotune version made by some random person on the internet has fetched him about 10 million views on YouTube.
It has become the way to kickstart one's career on social media. Make something funny or cool, get people to engage with your post, and get it reposted by popular “meme” pages with credits given where it's due, and voila, you got yourself to go viral.
But, the problem with this system is, that if you are even somewhat active on social media, you cannot escape the plethora of content that is almost fully scripted in an attempt to go “viral”, which would bring a lot of clout to its creator. Not only is it cringe to watch, but sometimes it's also a nuisance caused when made in public. When you log onto your social media, and the general type of content you follow is that of everyone else’s, then you would encounter this wave of videos of people attempting to do something funny or engaging but fail at it miserably. It takes the fun out of going into these sites in the first place.
There’s nothing like the candor of naturally blowing up on social media and gaining clout. You can truly see that person grow into a successful being. Like the infamous meme faces of the golden era. But that has now been corrupted with wannabe humorists of new-age social media in the blink of an eye.
Social media, which was once a way to connect with people, share information, share comical ideas, etc, has now evolved into a business world and a marketplace where most people just come on there to make money.
And I’m not complaining. It's a natural thing for humans to use resources in a way that's beneficial to them so that they can sustain the civilization for as long as they can. It's a part of evolution. But logging into these sites for stress relief and encountering numerous ads, unfunny videos, and fake influencers is annoying. I wonder if we’ll ever reach a point where we find an alternative source for social media. But if this is the way forward, that’s good in a way too. Because in an attempt to break from these sites, it has made me keep my phone aside and enjoy the peaceful things in life, like having my coffee and watching the beautiful sunset from my terrace.