Let’s face it you’ve probably been working extremely hard.
Forget of all those years of darkness
Forget about getting in your 10,000 hours of training to learn your craft.
In reality, forget about making any artistic work at all now it’s all about becoming popular for the sake of being popular.
Somewhere along the way, recognition is becoming an aim in itself. It’s not necessarily to become a popular musician, a famous writer, or a famous artist — it’s obviously enough to be popular.
Creative artists were always agitators. Artists such as Picasso, Duchamp, O’Keeffe, Cerny, Pollock, Banksy, Christo, and Hirst specialized in activities that provoke the sentiments and push the limits (and buttons) of their audience. Their main objective, though, never was primarily to get publicity, it was an effort to alter our viewpoint and give us something new using their own unique artistic voice.
Having said all that, why does it seem like so many of us are crying for attention these days?
Breaking the background noise
Look I get it the internet is getting extremely crowded.
Now that nearly everybody has their own Twitter account, Facebook profile, YouTube channel, and blog — it has now become harder than ever before to penetrate the noisy chatter and get ourselves noticed. We have more media organizations and low-cost methods to broadcast our creative workaround than before.
What seems to be lacking, though is our focus.
So what happened?
There are no observers any more
You must note that there weren’t just a handful of news networks, movie studios, and music production companies out there. They generated material, and we watched, listened, and bought whatever they made.
It didn’t have to be all that interesting because we just had a few options to choose from (unless of course, you were one of those odd “book readers”). They had the actors and singers, and we were the audience. They played as we stood on the sidelines, clapping and buying tickets.
Back then, we even watched TV advertisements because we were just too lazy to get up and switch the channel. It was Crazy Men’s golden times, and everybody did their part.
But here’s the problem….things changed
Nobody cares now
The worldwide web changed that. There are no spectators sitting on the sidelines hoping to be entertained because we’ve all become content producers ourselves to some degree.
We are now so busy making and posting our own content that we don’t have time to consider anything else.
We update our blog, search hundreds of Facebook and Twitter updates daily to discover that less and fewer people listen to what we have to say. And we end up spending much of our time worrying about ourselves.
It’s sort of like Thanksgiving dinner, where everybody is talking simultaneously, but no one ever listens. We’re talking to each other. The table talk keeps getting louder and louder until you can’t even remember what you’re doing
In economics, it’s called diminishing returns rule. The first person to start shouting in a silent room is almost sure to be heard. Maybe even the second person’s third as well–but as soon as everybody in the room begins screaming, nobody can hear anybody, and we just tune it. Unfortunately, it seems we’ve now reached the stage online where everybody is shouting to be heard, but nobody is bothered to listen anymore.
If everybody sits, nobody can see.
But in this kind of setting where there are so much noise and shock, how can anyone ever expect to stick out and get spotted?
Well, this all comes back to this post’s title “How to Become Famous in 3 Shockingly Easy Steps”
(You weren’t sure we’d really get back you?)
So here it is…. The trick to being noticed online is to shock the audience to pay attention.
Shock & Awe
Let’s face it the fastest way is to scream
Shock = Attention = Fame
As you can see, our formula here is fairly basic. If you want to become famous, you’ve literally figured out a way to get people’s focus. If you get people’s focus, you become popular.
You see the popularity (unlike talent) just catching someone’s attention.
Shocking people in the province of disc jockeys, graffiti artists, and Jerry Springer by doing something stupid and outlandish, but now it’s apparently become popular.
So not only is Picasso popular for his illustrations but now so is the idiot who walked into a museum and vandalized one of his paintings. Becoming famous doesn’t require talent, hard work, or ability. All it really takes is catching someone else’s attention by doing something totally unexpected. If you’re doing something “good” or something “bad” to get publicity doesn’t matter—the outcome is the same.
Fame you’re going to be famous, as famous as you can be, with everybody watching you win on TV, even when they don’t because sometimes they won’t. ~As Dr Seuss said.
And it’s not only beginners who struggle to get recognized, but it’s also those who might already be popular, but who want to be even more famous. Do you think it’s just a coincidence that so many washed-up celebrities openly reveal that they’re checking for rehab or “accidentally” leak their sex tape? Even these celebrities on the B-list realize that fame needs publicity, and if they don’t get enough publicity, they have to do something that will.
As a society we’ve tried to conceal these little indiscretions, now we’re out of our way to record and disclose them.
This tried and tested formula resurrected the careers of countless actors and musicians who then went on to a prosperous second television career. After all, everyone loves to tune in to Bravo and watch a good train wreck of celebrity because it makes us feel morally superior to these idiots and their self-serving shenanigans.
Okay, that’s fine, but what if you’re not a well-washed celebrity? What are your options?
Well lucky for you, there were plenty of others who used the scandal to worm their way into our mass consciousness. In the meantime, they’ve left us a thorough blueprint on how to become famous for being notorious.
Without further goodbye, I’m bringing you…
The Idiot’s Roadmap to becoming Popular with Minimal Effort
Do something extremely dumb and nasty for yourself
Don’t be afraid to take risks out here. This can be film, stunt, hoax, or just plain old-fashioned vandalism. Bear in mind that as a society we’ve become quite desensitized from years of watching people do dumb things, so try to think big.
Record and publish your ignorance act on YouTube
Capturing your act of idiocy and publishing is not optional here. These days, if you don’t catch anything on camera, you may as well return to your primitive dark cave.
Popular Idiot Exhibit #1
It’s like the whole tree dropping in the forest. This isn’t 2005, and nobody in some old-fashioned newspaper wants to sit down and read about it, they want to see it happen so they can shake their heads in shock as they click on the sharing buttons.
Although it’s true you could get fined or prosecuted for your prank, don’t worry about it because you’ll still get your name in the magazines, blogs, cable news networks, and other stupid websites (like this one that has little better to do than give you more free advertising.
Just Make sure they pronounce your names right.
Benefit from your idiocy and enjoy your new-found fame
Congratulations to you now! Know, though, that while your fame can be instant, it’s far from permanent. So when you’re drinking in your 15-minute glory, make sure to think about your next stupidity public spectacle. And as much as we love watching your personal train-wreck on YouTube, there’s always another fool waiting around the corner to shock and amuse us.
There’s nothing wrong with popularity itself.
Don’t get the wrong impression. Nothing’s wrong with being famous. Much like there’s no intrinsic goodness wasting your time in darkness.
Being popular doesn’t make a talented artist happier. Indeed, those who get some fame always feel stuck by it (I know boo-boo right?). However, as soon as someone reaches some degree of popularity and success, there’s always the temptation for them to stick with the same tried-and-true formula, rather than risk future failure by attempting something different. They are unexpectedly stuck in a creative rut because of their audience’s expectations.
I never wanted to be recognized. I just wanted to be great. ~Charles Ray
Fame is the public acceptance that you have attained some degree of mastery in your chosen career. But what fame shouldn’t be is a destination in itself.
So maybe we should stop spending all this energy trying to get recognized, and maybe spend more time focusing on being a better creative artist.
Given what you’ve read, there’s no shortcut.
There is no “easy button.
Just sit down and do the work.
What do you think?
What’s your opinion of our obsessed culture?
Do you feel we are setting a bad example by rewarding art vandals with their own gallery show?
Where exactly does “recognition” and marketing ourself as an artist cross the line?