“CASH MEH OUSSIDE HOW BAH DAH!” If you’ve heard of this significant expression of raw emotion or of the red-headed, 13 year-old, Danielle Bregoli, then you have officially experienced the extensive capabilities of the modern, digital era. Making her first appearance on Dr. Phil, Danielle Bregoli, was introduced to the world as a rebellious, “out-of-control” teenager with uncontrollable anger. Offering his measures of therapeutic intervention, Dr. Phil attempted to heal Danielle of the pain and betrayal that rummaged her life in a couple hours of somewhat intriguing television. But instead of fading into the deep basin of millions of daytime television programs, the short clip of Danielle yelling, “CASH MEH OUSSIDE HOW BAH DAH!” at Dr. Phil’s live audience accumulated more than 50 million views on social media sites in just a couple of days, and skyrocketed the young girl into the national sensation we know her as today. With more than 10 million Instagram followers, images of Danielle have been splattered across murals, churches, memes, television, online media and so on.
Social media’s interconnected user experience creates a chain of common interests developing a new medium of fame for people like Danielle. Facebook, for example, is “essentially an aggregation of content produced by friends and accounts selected and subscribed by the users. Facebook enables users to receive frequently updated content. It is not only a network of friends. It is also a web service that collects content produced by others and selected by users not only for friendship with other users, but also because it is consistent with the interests and passions of the subscribers.” In other words, social media uses the natural connections of friends and so-called communities to spread general interests and topics. Danielle was able to surf among these millions of people and their sub-communities to create an immense social capital. Not only has her presence on social media exponentially increased, her real life persona has simultaneously been affected. The permeability of her digital image has, through social media, been embedded into the minds of millions of people; as a result, when users maneuver into the physical world, social media’s image of her follows.
The significance of social media’s pervasive ability is what drives users to perform on these sites. Back in the day, fame was not democratically skewed. It was not controlled “by the famous and certainly not by the audience” like it is today, but “by the owners of the media. It was so foreign and artificial a construct that we thought that fame made you special. The rules didn’t apply to you. You had a certain ethereal glow. A glow of fame.” As people, we have an innate desire to be seen and valued and be given this elite status. Instagram, especially, is a medium that conveys such ambitions. People must constantly supply worthy photos in hopes of maintaining and increasing the amount of followers. With this in mind, a whole new class of celebrity has evolved. Bloggers have created a career for themselves and their ultimate goal is to create a social media presence and utilize the capital to increase their net worth. Classic celebrities must also adapt to this digital world and have also joined the social media fandom to maintain their stardom that may otherwise be replaced by those who know how to take advantage of these mediums.
We, the audience, are now the mediums of a message as we transfer content through the realms of social media by sharing and uploading images and videos. The rapidity of the digital atmosphere is unmistakable and has altered the way we view fame.