Online celebrity does not indicate personal success

Opinions Columnists | Journalism sophomore

While social media has its uses, some students have become far too focused on gaining Twitter followers and have lost sight of what really matters outside of the Internet.

Everyone wants to be famous, and these days it seems students do not need any talent at all to make this happen—Twitter is all it takes.

Big Neechi, for example, has thousands upon thousands of followers, not for writing thoughtful, insightful tweets, but for simply retweeting other people’s thoughts. I do not understand how he is so popular. In person he may have a wonderful personality, and by no means am I bashing him or calling him out as the only one profiting from Internet fame. He just happens to be a prime example.

I do not understand the sense of accomplishment many seem to receive from the invisible Internet brownie points gained from having a lot of followers or likes. I get it if the fame comes from raising awareness for a cause, or otherwise making a positive change, but becoming famous for retweeting a scandalous, half-naked picture is hardly something to be proud of. Such an action is exploitation at its finest, and it implies the person is desperate for attention—not exactly a personality trait to be celebrated.  
Sure, it might be kind of cool to have a huge mass of followers on social media, but in reality, it means nothing. Having a lot of followers does not equal success, achievement or anything else of value. The multitude of followers someone may have on Twitter is not necessarily going to have any positive impact on that person’s life. Having a lot of followers may indicate a person is likeable, or maybe not. It is nearly impossible to tell how someone acts in person through the Internet alone.

Half of the time, popular tweets can barely even pass as English. Tweets are often overrun with emoticons, random symbols and hashtags longer than a Harry Potter novel. No one has time to try to decipher what passive-aggressive thought someone decided to cram into a tag. This needs to stop.

A large amount of the people who interact on social media do not even know each other beyond the Internet. It is so bizarre to me how much people will tell strangers about themselves just to feel accepted. I have seen my fair share of not safe for work photos floating around on Twitter with the generic caption “retweet for like, favorite for love.” Good job on having no marketable talents other than a supreme lack of self-confidence and a knack for compliment fishing.

If Bobcats spent half the time studying that they use trying to get followers on Twitter, more students might actually graduate on time. There is nothing wrong with partying or wasting time online every now and then, but students should not lose sight of the more important things in life. Twitter fame will fade, crazy college parties will eventually end and adult responsibilities will only become more pressing.

It is easy to become swept up in the hype of social media, but students should not waste their lives trying to hit a certain number of followers. Students should put the phone, tablet or computer down and try doing something productive such as starting a face-to-face conversation with a real human being. It is time students let the Twitter bird rest.