Social media: can it make or break you?


Photo: Jairi Walker

Social Media has quickly become a powerhouse in today’s generation. Whether good or bad, it can and will stir up conversation and give the audience a platform to judge or criticize, and everything in between.

By Jairi Walker, Flyer Staff

Technology is ever-growing in this day and age and with that comes the impending significance of social media. The five major platforms are the following: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat. When one is talking about going viral, these are the apps and websites that would produce the most fame. Over the past 10 years, the entirety of people that actually go viral and get famous has grown exponentially. According to Google, “going viral” is defined as an image, video or advertisement that is circulate rapidly on the internet. 


Take Youtube for example. This is a video sharing website that makes it easier to share and view content. It’s quite obvious how somebody could become famous from this app, as all it takes is one click to make it go viral. Most often with this form of social media, an already famous person will share the video onto their other social medias and then the video would gain fame and clout that way. This was done most often with up and coming music artists who get discovered by famous singers and record labels. Conversely, vlogger Logan Paul posted a video of himself at the Suicide Forest in Japan laughing at a dead body that presumably committed suicide there. This video was instantly flagged and taken down as many found it offensive. Paul no longer has the fan base he once did.


The same thing goes with Facebook. This website is where you can write posts about anything you want and attach pictures and videos. More recently, videos have been emerging of parents dealing with their kids. Content would show how they dealt with public tantrums or how they punish their children. This obviously stirred up a ton of controversy in the comments section, as everybody has a different way of parenting. On a positive note, sometimes a more cheerful video will go viral. This kind of content would show a person doing charity work, like helping the homeless or volunteering. Evidently, this stirred up a lot of controversy as well. Some people say that you shouldn’t record when you are doing charity work, you should just do it out of the goodness of your heart and not for clicks and views. Others argue that by recording their good deeds, they are in fact spreading the message of the importance of helping out and giving back to your community. Commenting of this magnitude is another way that posts can gain attention.


Twitter has also been majorly influential in the fame making and defaming of everyday people. This is a website where you can post about anything and everything that is on your mind. With the amount of people who retweet content everyday, it’s fairly simple for a tweet to go from 20 retweets to 200,000 retweets, especially if the content is controversial. In 2017, a video went viral on Twitter about a male high school student who threw a cat halfway down the street and had his friend record it. The tweet got so much clap back that within just a few days of being posted, people of Twitter had already found his school address and even the place where he lived. The boy is now facing animal abuse and endangerment charges. Conversely, a tweet that was tweeted without the intention of gaining fame has just as much of a chance to do so. This was proven when Bryce Cunningham posted a tweet about a miscommunication between her mother and herself. Within just hours the tweet got 20,000 retweets and over 200,000 likes. This was so sudden and unexpected according to Cunningham, she was initially shocked. She didn’t post the tweet with the intentions of it blowing up, and when it started to gain attention she just muted the notifications.


On Instagram, the sharing of influential photos is more relevant, especially with aesthetically pleasing photos. This is primarily a picture sharing website and you can even add captions to your photos. Most people just share pictures onto their personal Instagram for the aesthetic, and others will see it in their explore tab and click on it. This helps the post gain attention and likes, which then in turn causes the account to gain followers and then boom, you’re famous. Also, this is how a lot of up and coming models got their big break. They got noticed by other models and agencies while simultaneously gaining followers and likes for their modeling pictures on Instagram.


Last but certainly not least, Snapchat is in my opinion is the most influential form of social media especially in this generation. Practically everybody has a Snapchat account, and the picture and video sharing app is extremely convenient as they all delete within 24 hours. However, despite the time limit, it is still very efficient at getting views and replies when someone posts something on their story. Some people actually try to get noticed on this app on the discover tab. Fairmont graduate Cameron Kinsey did this on March 14, 2017 when he painted the pi symbol on his forehead and posted a snapchat of it on his story in honor of pi day. After rigorous sharing and spreading of the picture, Snapchat actually made Kinsey’s picture the header photo for a Cosmopolitan article in the discover tab on their app. Kinsey then gained many followers on all of his social media platforms and even made a thank you post to Snapchat and all his fans that helped him get to the discover tab.

It is very clear that social media plays a major role in getting people noticed. Some platforms have more power over this than others, however they all help in their own aspect. More and more people are rallying around the concept of social media fame in hopes that they too become famous.

The chances are one in a million.