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Posts Tagged ‘fame’

After an intense (and gotta say, somewhat unpleasant) chat with a SL friend today, I feel I have to do a quick post on a topic which is bound to recur in my blog: Being seen, being noticed, getting attention. The friend suggested those things are people’s principal motivation for blogging and putting pictures up on Flickr. That might be true for some, but I feel I can honestly say it is not true for me.

I recognize that in most countries it is hard to get famous for doing good and important things, simply due to the excessive numbers of people in those countries. Well in New Zealand, where I have lived my entire life, it isn’t really too hard. Again, because there aren’t that many of us – 4 million is not a large number on the grand scheme of things. We have an ad campaign here for a drink, with a phrase that applies beautifully “world famous in New Zealand” – we have our own ideas of what is famous here.

I’ve had my share of fame here. I got to the stage more than once that people knew me before I knew them, they knew my name and things about me that kinda shocked and amazed me. I’ve spoken to many crowds of hundreds of people, sat on various influential bodies, received various awards etc etc etc.

Now the reason I mention this is because it strikes me that most people in SL come from the larger countries and haven’t tasted much in the way of fame (or what feels close enough to fame to give some perspective to the experience). Having tasted it and adapted to it and reached the point that I can take it or leave it, I do not do what I do in SL just to get noticed. I don’t need to be noticed, it’s not my driving force. But I can understand how a lot of people in SL might really feel a huge drive to taste “importance” and feel like they matter because they are finally noticed. I understand it, but I don’t particularly like it.

Just to clarify, I do want to be noticed by a few people – my friends, and people who’s opinions I respect because they have talent and knowledge and experience that I know about and respect. I don’t want them to notice me for the sake of it though, I just want to share my achievements with them and get their input and give them joy and get their praise – which is meaningful praise because of who they are. Along those same lines I am always open to making new friends, and yes some of my new friends come to me via blogging and my art, and that is a beautiful thing – when our mutual interests and passions bring new people into my life.

Because I am not driven by attention for the sake of it, I do not “act out” just to be looked at, I do not do the drama queen thing just in the hope that someone will point and stare, and neither do I have any interest in people who do.

This post has already gotten longer than I intended so I’ll wrap it up there for now. But I’d be interested to know your motivations for your blogging and your Flickring, for instance. Do you do it for the attention, is that your main, or partial motivation, do you care who’s attention you get, and is your attitude effected by experiences of “fame” in real life at all..?

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Attitudes to Fame

Just like in RL, there are all sorts of reasons you can become famous in SL: For good things, bad things, talented things and dumb things. Lately I’ve had plenty of opportunities to observe how people treat “famous” people in SL and it got me thinking, and as always, when I think about SL, I blog about SL ^^

It seems to me that you can roughly squeeze people’s attitude to famous people, and specifically the attitude to the fame itself, into 3 categories:

The first is The Lover. This person adores the famous person principally because of their fame. They give them more lee-way to act bad, and praise them overly when they act good. They defend the famous person passionately, almost aggressively, even if they have never had personal contact with them, though chances are very high that the true Lover has at some point done everything they can think of to be in chat range of their admired. They think they have a friendship with the object of fame even if the contact has only being brief and in passing. At it’s softest this person will behave like they have a crush of sorts of the famous object, and it’s worst they are a stalker. Now as annoying and superficial as these people can be, the next category is worse.

The Hater. The hater hates people just because they are famous. They act like the presence of fame proves the person has done something wrong, and like the famous person wouldn’t be liked by people if not for their fame. Putting down the famed person becomes an obsession of sorts. The hatred appears like bitterness. It manifests in an outspoken irrational anger against both the famed person and the people who like them. They often very vocally try to diminish the famed person’s achievements and character. The Hater varies from quiet seething with occasional biting remarks, to the full on enemy status, which is basically a stalker too. There is a fair chance the hater has personally encountered their target and absolutely revelled in the chance to act like their opinion mattered and was heard by the famed person, but they’re just as likely to have never met them.

I’ve been trying to understand the psychology of the Hater and the best sense I can make of it is that they envy the fame and think they would have it as well if not for the world being an unfair place. It makes them feel more important if their opinion of the famed person is a negative one, that they get to say in effect that such a widely loved person is not loved by them – that they are somehow better. Even better if the famed person gets to hear their opinion and feels sad because of it, because at that point they really start to feel important – mattering to an important person makes you ever so special, and chances are their adoration would have gone un-noticed or un-appreciated, so lashing out is a second option.

The third grouping, and one I consider myself to happily sit within is the Take-it-as-it-comes. These people may notice fame but take it for what it is – evidence of success or a sweet or nasty character, dependent on what they are famous for of course. The important thing is that the fame doesn’t cloud the judgment, that in and of itself it is not a reason to hate or love the person. I would just as happily befriend a complete unknown stranger as the most famous person in SL, I’m more interested in the person than their reputation. If you judge people before meeting them you tend to miss out on some amazing and fascinating people. It’s especially silly to treat strangers as nobodies in a world full of alts. No body, anywhere, is a no body. Every human deserves respect, blah blah blah, you get me.

As with all categories and guesses at psychology, this is all going to be somewhat simplified. At the very least it accords with a vast amount of my personal experiences in SL to do with fame and fame attitudes. This, like so many of my posts, is something I plan to return to later. The more I write the more I want to write. Lucky I’m coming up to the holidays isn’t it ^^

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