Imagine yourself, a regular ol’productive member of society being out and about running a few errands. In one instance, you go to your local grocery store to get a few things and then go back home. You unpack and settle in, then log on the Internet and bam; you’re on the world’s radar as “(Insert your name here) from (Insert store name here)”. Celebrity status just like that. Thousands of followers, incoming emails and messages from your new fans and companies and talk show hosts that want to meet you. Over what you ask yourself, what did you do? Nothing.
Just one photo taken by a complete stranger while grocery shopping was your ticket to fame.
What a bizarre scenario you might say to yourself. This makes no sense, how could something like that happen to anyone. I would agree, something like this could never happen, maybe 10 years ago, but now, in today’s age, that is how Alex from Target was born.
Alex from Target, a trend that took over social media hash tags overnight and made an appearance on Ellen in the day. Alex from Target, the boy who went from your casual end of the line product bagger, to obtain top of the line celebrity status in an instance. Alex from Target, who he himself has know idea how he got so huge but humbly has accepted what happened as he told Ellen DeGeneres about this experience.
So by now if you don’t know, Alex reached such levels of fame over a photo that was taken of him while at his job at Target. The photo was uploaded on twitter and since then, has been favorited and retweeted thousands and thousands of times.
Now millions of photos on the Internet get shared around multiple times daily, but why of all things, in this instance, did natural trend of sharing and liking and etc. give this 16 year old his fame? It’s because we live in a new era, a new generation in which the younger population has so much power on social media. This generation of kids and teens as a whole can easily influence any topic beyond comprehension.
He’s a perfect example of pop culture and social media, in regards to how some unknown could be a star under 24 hours. For this topic, a definition of such pop culture phenomenon could be best described using the quantitative definition.
“The quantitative definition of culture has the problem that much “high culture” (e.g., television dramatizations of Jane Austen) is also “popular”. “Pop culture” is also defined as the culture that is “left over” when we have decided what high culture is. However, many works straddle the boundaries, e.g., Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.”
I myself believe that the definition of we the people deciding what high culture is is exactly what happened with Alex from Target. We chose to talk about him. We chose to get him on television to spread his story. We chose to let everyone else in the world know how easily it is to obtain such a level of fame. At least after his exposure, Alex made a Vine account to entertain his new followers and hopefully he’ll use such power to good use.
As time has moved forward since the initial uprising to fame, people have come out to claim that the whole thing is a hoax. A scam to promote Target, or smart marketing advertisements, and by all means, those claims could be true. Regardless, no matter what the outcome is, the fact that just a photo, of a teenager at work, was spread so quickly and trended around the country, goes to show what power the Internet has now.