Without a societal influence, pop culture wouldn’t even exist. As contributors, we root it on and can’t live without it. We want Lindsay Lohan to get another DUI or another unexpected pregnancy by the Kardashians’ just so we can talk about it. Our current society thrives on the drama in other people’s lives. We are the reason pop culture is so large in our culture. We tweet about it, talk about it, and even Instagram it. We are the reason why E! has the ability to keep airing shows that are absolutely pointless and simply provide a false sense of “reality” through television. Yet, we buy it, both literally and figuratively. We purchase the tabloids, and just because it’s printed in a magazine automatically means that it must be true. If that was the case, then that would mean Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have adopted 4 more kids and have divorced probably 6 or 7 times. The tabloids will make up information just to sell, but who else is there to blame but ourselves? And our lives are just as dramatic, right? So why aren’t we famous yet?
WE are the pop in pop culture. We create the drama, and we feed it. We crave it so much that naturally organizations and production studios will give us what we want to see. The fake relationships for publicity, the praise for being thin and the distaste for those who are bigger, sex tapes, and so much more. Through the entire course of the semester, I’ve learned that pop culture was created because we wanted it to be. We get bored of our own personal lives that we need to rely on those of celebrities and socialites. We watch them on television, in movies, read about them in magazines, follow them on social media, and even tweet at them. We want to feel like we are a part of it all, like we know them. We were raised to admire these perfectly photoshopped men and women and aspire to be like them. Although new media did not originally cultivate this, its recent boom has done nothing but add to it.
The only way of accessing news in pop culture was from traditional media sources, such as print (magazines and newspapers), television, movies, radio, etc. Now, it’s everywhere. This blog, Twitter, Facebook, TMZ, E!, YouTube, Yahoo!, on your phone, your laptop/tablet, in everyday conversations, and the list goes on. The reason we all follow each of these new media outlets is because we want to know information first. It doesn’t matter anymore if people know, since everyone is bound to find out. Even in everyday situations, if you make one mistake, it’s talked about. Yet, being the first to know takes a lot more precedence over knowing about it in the first place. So by following your favorite celebrity, you get the the notion that you were the first to know and get a sense of joy because of it. I mean, the only reason I found out that Justin Bieber yet another tattoo is because he posted about 5 times about it on his Instagram.
Celebrities’ social media outlets mainly highlight the “normalcies” of their everyday life. From the food they eat, to the cars they drive in, to their plethora of expensive clothing and accessories, their social media is a way to showcase it all. Seeing these posts makes us want to do the same, and so we do. We post our sub-par meal, talk about the cars we are test-driving and leasing, and our newly thrifted shirt from Salvation Army. By doing this, we feel like we are a part of the same world as these celebrities. If Vanessa Hudgens can post a photo of her nails and Alexander McQueen shoes and get 93k likes, then why can’t we? We want to be famous, and the only way we know how is to copy already-famous people.
New media changes the way we think, act, and even uphold ourselves. A lot of this will be discussed in my final new media project, “The Fourth Wall,” which will analyze how we feel a certain attachment and ownership over celebrities through our use and their use in social media. Furthermore, engaging in pop culture changes us. It creates a disconnect between social interactions and online ones. People use their phones as an escape and prefer this method of communication over face-to-face conversation. We feel connected to our devices, because as pop culture encourages, we need to be the first to know 100% of the time. We can’t get away from our media devices because we feel a loss in connection to the “world” when we are without. I am guilty of this myself. Both allowing pop culture to envelop me, but also allowing new media to dictate my actions. I’ll admit, all of my accusations above I am susceptible to. I find myself often caring more about my favorite celebrities than what’s going on with the government. I have been conditioned to look at celebrities for newsworthy information, rather than political figures and actions that actually have control over the direction of our society. We crave infamy, and being famous for no absolute reason, as long as that gets us the attention that we so desire. Our culture has created the term ‘FOMO,’ which stands for ‘Fear Of Missing Out.’ This directly correlates with what I’m discussing because we never want to be left out or missing out on anything. We want to be everywhere and know everything, all at the same time. So we post about it, or read about it in our idols’ lives, all so we feel like we are a bigger part of this discourse community. We all want to fit in, and what better way than to completely detach ourselves from anything that is true and valuable and grab on to the first sight of fame? Therefore, the question I would like to pose and leave open to interpretation is this: Did we create pop culture or did pop culture create us?
Think about it and get back to me when you know the answer since I’m still trying to figure it out for myself.