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Media and Its Impact on Celebrity Culture and Society

James Gilmore

Professor James Fleming



Much to my parents’ dismay, I spend a lot of my time on the internet. Recently, perusing the internet has become a chore. I often stray from my favorite content and find new personalities that I must follow. Though some may find this laborious, I find it entertaining and refreshing. Meeting new internet personalities is like broadening my real social network. Whenever I watch a video on YouTube, I feel as though that person is having a conversation with me. For example, I frequently watch Casey Neistat’s video blogs on YouTube. I adore Casey Neistat for his positive, motivational vibes. When I hear Casey Neistat tell me, “Success is where opportunity meets preparation,” I feel encouraged enough to surmount my obstacles. If he can do it, then I can too. In short, I relate myself to Casey Neistat; we both want to seize the moment. However, just like with friends in real life, I could not tolerate listening to just Casey Neistat all day. That is when I click over to jacksfilms who is another internet personality who utilizes the YouTube platform. Jack Douglass is my most comedic online “friend.” I could spend hours listening to his hilarious, cynical humor. Quite honestly, I am cynical myself. Douglass is an outlet for me to express my cynicism in the comment section of Douglass’ videos which will reach the millions of other cynics who follow Douglass. Though a meme could make me chuckle, I do not connect with content as much as I do with the personality. I crave the sense of belonging when watching Jack Douglass or Casey Neistat, I crave the eye contact between these internet personalities (I stare at my computer screen way too close), and I crave the authenticity of the personality. Most of all, however, I crave the community built around the internet personality.

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Internet Personalities: The New Face of Celebrities? 


Internet Personalities: The New Face of Celebrities?

Critical Question:

Should we consider our favorite internet content creators as celebrities; if so, what makes them celebrated and what influence do they carry in today’s society?

Thesis Statement: 

In the internet age, internet personalities rightfully deserve celebrity status, since they, unlike their Hollywood counterpart, attract millions, if not billions, of views through uncensored, abundant, and relatable content; furthermore, denying celebrity status to internet personalities grossly underestimates the influence he or she has on their audience.

Brief Description:  

Who are your favorite celebrities? Brad Pitt? Tom Hanks? Scarlett Johansson? If you google search, “list of celebrities,” an entire index of famous people, from Ringo Starr to Arnold Schwarzenegger, are found. Often when we think of a celebrity in the entertainment industry, we imagine a famous movie star who dominates Hollywood, or a rock star who sells millions of albums. Meanwhile, the internet personality, the dark horse of the entertainment industry, is basically pegged below celebrity status but above “commoner” status. This latter statement doesn’t make sense, because thousands of content creators attract millions, if not billions, of views. I discuss that the “Hollywood” celebrity is currently being substituted by the internet personality. Unlike Hollywood producers, internet personalities can create uncensored, cheap content. Furthermore, there is no façade between an internet personality and his or her audience, unlike an actor who’s always in the limelight. It is the combination of uncensored, cheap content and a relatable personality, among other things, that position internet personalities as the nouveau celebrity. Lastly, I will briefly discuss the reach internet personalities have on their audiences. Uncensored, cheap content is a double-edged sword. The subject of my research addresses the society and technology aspect of the STS field.

Tentative Outline: 

My introduction will begin with a brief brainstorm of celebrities. Often Hollywood movie stars or rock stars are the celebrities, while internet personalities lie in a gray area of fame. I will argue that internet content creators are usurping those in the limelight through uncensored, cheap content and a relatable personality.

I will begin my body paragraphs by defining the term celebrity. What does it mean to be celebrated? Then, I might include examples of celebrities from recent history and the medium in which they reached their audience. I will then transition into our modern means of media, the internet. The internet, unlike any technology in history, allows for immediate communication between users. Furthermore, to create a video on the internet, on a website such as YouTube, does not require millions of dollars and hundreds of staff to produce. Internet personalities, compared to their Hollywood counterpart, can produce content cheaply and abundantly. It’s small wonder that memes and other content on the internet burn out quickly; despite this, the content from internet personalities provide a steady, frequent stream of entertainment to audiences. Not only is this content abundant, internet personalities are virtually uncensored. For example, the hosts of the popular reality TV series, Top Gear, were limited by the BBC’s policies for public broadcasting. Now, as the hosts transitioned to Amazon with their new series, The Grand Tour, there are less limitations. The sandbox nature of the internet allows content creators to satisfy any niche, while traditional TV is limited by what can be “advertisable.”

I will also discuss the relationship between an internet content provider and his or her audience. An actor or rock star must be extremely talented or lucky to reach the limelight. Moreover, the limelight creates a barrier between the celebrity and the audience. The audience cannot relate to a star in the limelight compared to an internet personality who creates vlogs about his or her life on a fifty dollar camera.

Lastly, I will discuss the influence of internet personalities today. Cheap, uncensored content is a double-edged sword. Internet personalities must be responsible for the content they post online. By incorporating recent examples of irresponsible content, such as Logan Paul’s suicide video, I will argue that internet personalities should be held to the same standard as today’s celebrities.


Choi, Chong Ju, and Ron Berger. “Ethics of Celebrities and Their Increasing Influence in 21st Century Society.” Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 91, no. 3, 2010, pp. 313–318. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27749800.

Juhasz, Alexandra. “Learning the Five Lessons of Youtube: After Trying to Teach There, I Don’t Believe the Hype.” Cinema Journal, vol. 48, no. 2, 2009, pp. 145–150. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20484456.

Keslassy, Elsa. “Cannes: Thierry Fremaux Explains Fest’s Thinking on Red Carpet Selfie Ban, Netflix Policy and #Metoo.” Variety, 24 Mar. 2018, http://variety.com/2018/film/news/cannes-film-festival-thierry-fremaux-red-carpet-selfies-1202735264/.

Maltby, John, et al. “Personality and Coping: A Context for Examining Celebrity Worship and Mental Health.” British Journal of Psychology, Wiley/Blackwell (10.1111), 24 Dec. 2010, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1348/0007126042369794.


C.P. Snow’s Bridge

A graduate with a science degree asks, “Why does it work?”

A graduate with an engineering degree asks, “How does it work?”

A graduate with an accounting degree asks, “How much does it cost?”

A graduate with a liberal arts degree asks, “Would you like milk with your coffee?”


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