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The Risk and Rewards of Becoming Internet Famous

A new survey shows that people aren't so anxious to become viral sensations.

Source: Pexel

There's no shortage of average people that made it huge on social media. From Tyler Oakley to Rueben de Maid to Brooklyn and Bailey and who can forget miss Candace Payne, better known as Chewbacca Mom, whose candor and laughter stole the hearts of many Americans in a video that was viewed 164 million times.

Watching "Jimmy Kimmel Live" recently, the host took to the streets as for one of his segments, and interviewed average people. When he asked a woman's name and occupation, she proudly gave her name and then said she's aspiring to be a YouTuber.

In 2017 we witnessed a heightened time of incivility online. Civility in America survey said that 84 percent of us had experienced some form of cruelty – 69 percent of us blamed the Internet and social media.

With this rise in digital discourse, it seems the desire to become a Internet famous is dissipating.

A recent YouGov Omnibus survey shared that almost half (48 percent) of Americans would not like to go viral on social media or become famous on the news for a short time.

When the survey was broken down by gender, it was close, with 44 percent of males and 52 percent of females saying they would not want any virtual claim to fame.

What is clear is how with maturity (age) we're reminded of wisdom: 81 percent of Americans over age 55 firmly don't want to be part of the digital landscape of news or any viral sensation according to this research.

They younger millennials (18 to 24 years old), as the one that Jimmy Kimmel interviewed, are still hoping for their break to fame online at 36 percent. Yet millennials between 25 and 34 are less likely to reach for Internet fame at 28 percent. Yes, with age comes wisdom.

Digital wisdom

Whether you're a teenager, a millennial or an adult, if you're using technology (social media) it's important that you also use common sense — digital wisdom.

No one is here to judge you if you want to become an Internet sensation, but in 2018 the majority of people are now armed with smartphones. You may be over 55 years old, but that won't stop a 19-year-old from recording your oops moment while your child throws a tantrum at the store. Within minutes you can be the next viral video.

3 C's of Social Communication

Conduct. Control yourself, and check-in with yourself. Never put a temporary emotion on the permanent internet. If you're offline, tempers are about to flare, remember, the glare of a smartphone could be only steps away.

Content. Ask yourself if this will embarrass or humiliate someone or yourself. Fifteen minutes of humor is never worth a lifetime of humiliation. Are you truly prepared to go viral? Being Internet infamous is not a good place to be.

Caring. When posting with empathy, it's impossible to be cruel. Even if you are in a heated debate online, be constructive, not combative. Are you posting a controversial comment or video that may hurt people? Is this really the way you want to be recognized? When in doubt - give yourself permission to click out.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, as the old saying goes, however in today's generation of technology it's likely the first glance anyone will learn about you is what a click of a mouse will tell them.

In 2017 we learned that no one is above losing a job over a careless tweet and students (even the smartest and brightest) will have their acceptances revoked by dumb digital choices.

Let's be part of taking this shame nation to a sane and civil one. Use your keypad wisely.