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15 Minutes of Social Media Fame

by on September 10, 2019 5:00 AM

Back in 1968 the renowned and Pittsburgh-born celebrity pop artist Andy Warhol wrote a comment in the program for one of his exhibitions that, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” 

In today’s internet age more than 50 years after Warhol’s prognostication – which certainly qualifies it as the “future” to which he was referring – when cell phones have cameras capable of recording photographs and videos that can then be instantly uploaded and distributed all over the world, that phrase becomes a realistic prophecy every day.

This past week our own household had a slight brush with this internet-fueled social media fame that could be the realization of Warhol’s prediction. 

In case you weren’t aware, the Jonas Brothers made a stop at the Bryce Jordan Center last week during their “Happiness Begins” concert tour. My wife and daughter got tickets as they enjoy the music and were at the last Jonas Brothers concert at Bryce Jordan almost a decade ago. However, since our son had also gone to that earlier concert and didn’t like loud sounds as a youngster, my wife spent the entire concert walking the concourse of BJC with him because of the volume of the music, and she missed big portions of the show. This time it was a great mother-daughter opportunity to take in the entire event, get to see two fun opening acts, and relish in the complete Jonas Brothers experience.

And what an experience it was! They arrived home late that night pumped up from such a great time. Their review? The Jonas Brothers are top-notch performers, make good music, put on a fabulous show, and set up their staging and walkways in a way that makes every one of the thousands in the audience feel like they were a part of the evening. They were very happy they went.

And then it happened.

A day or so after the concert a friend of our son’s tagged him in an Instagram post. Our son immediately called his sister. The two of them text quite often, but phone calls are rare so this meant something special. He asked if she had been on 5th Year’s Instagram account, and when she said no, he told her to look at it. When she went online she found this  (caution: some language on the account may be offensive). 

Someone who was at the concert had filmed my wife and daughter sitting at their seats. They posted the video on Instagram and provided a caption: “Instant regret sending her daughter to college.”

My daughter forwarded the link to her mom and me. We all found it cute, very amusing and laughed at it. It’s pretty funny when you look at it within that context. Apparently a lot of other people also found it amusing. 

When we first saw the video it had about 50,000 views. Within hours that transformed to several hundred thousand. As I write this it’s over 800,000 views. The video also made its way to a post on Reddit (here) and is listed with 1.3 million views. In addition it’s posted to several other Instagram accounts and became part of an edited Snapchat story on Barstool. 

To qualify for Warhol’s “world-famous” in this day of viral internet videos and photos where celebrities have millions of followers, a million views may not be the huge news it once was, but it’s still a million times somebody looked at your video. That has to count as a little bit of “fame” don’t you think?  And our nephew was sent the video by a friend from another country who met our daughter once. So that counts as the “world” part. In the end we feel like this in some small way qualifies as our household’s “15 minutes.” It was an exciting way to end the week, that’s for sure.

However, with all the good comes just a small bit of bad. Luckily our children were the perfect examples of the generation gap between we older folks, who migrate toward Facebook, and they and their peers who use many other social-media outlets. In what turned out to be a great piece of advice, our daughter and son both gave their mother a stern admonition: Do NOT read the comments! Advice that she heeded a few moments too late as she needed to consult the internet to decipher an acronym or two. Well, we all live and learn.

But, that’s part and parcel of the deal with fame – you get what you get. As Julia Roberts’ character in the movie “Notting Hill” says, “The fame thing isn't really real, you know?” Consequently, in an effort to add a little “real” context to the video, I offer the following notes from my wife, that while providing some context for the video, may also detract from its mother-daughter meme quality if you enjoy it, so proceed with caution.

  • The video was taken between the opening acts while the lights were up and DJ music was playing over the sound system. No one was performing on stage at the time – that’s why it’s so bright.

  • She had never heard the song they were playing before so was intent on listening to the words.

  • She was also focused on two very animated young men nearby who were out of the frame and singing, waving their arms around and very entertaining. 

  • She really likes to dance – she’s always trying to get me to dance with her – and did while the Jonas Brothers were on stage. 

  • The look on her face is not an unhappy/disgust look. Having occasionally received her unhappy look, I can assure you that was not the “if looks could kill” look. 

There you have it – and that concludes our 15 minutes. If you haven’t had your 15 minutes yet, here’s to you getting yours someday!



John Hook is the president of The Hook Group, a local management consulting firm, and active in several nonprofit organizations. Previously John spent 25 years in executive, management and marketing positions with regional and national firms. John lives in Ferguson Township with his wife Jackie and their two children.
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