‘A thin line between online celebrities and traditional celebrities’

3 min readDec 17, 2020


“Fame and celebrity are no longer restricted to a person’s achievements, or work in the entertainment and sports fields” (Choi & Berger, 2009, p.313). Ordinary people such as myself are capable of achieving fame on the internet for just about anything that can spark public interest. Whether it is Instagram, YouTube, or even Tic Tok, you’ll be able to find all kinds of ‘celebrities’ there. But where do we draw the line? Who really is a celebrity? What makes one worthy of the title?

Photo by Martin Jernberg on Unsplash

The word celebrity is everywhere and has impacted our society; socially, economically, and culturally (Juntiwasarakij, 2018). In the new modern era of celebrity culture, traditional views of celebrity have been challenged and as a result, a number of academics have attempted to define the term celebrity. (Rojek 2015) states that celebrity is the gradual build-up of ‘attention capital’ and places the term into three different categories. Rojek describes the ‘Ascribed celebrity’ as an individual who is positioned in the social hierarchy. Because of their given social status, these individuals instantly gain a great amount of respect. The next, and the most common type of celebrity, is the “Achieved celebrity” which refers to people whose social status stems from their acknowledged talents and achievements. Lastly, Rojek (2015,) cleverly merges the words celebrity and tabloid to create the word ‘celetioids’, and these celebrities are individuals who attain “intense bursts of fame” (Rojek 2015 p.1). In the 21st century, someone rapidly gaining fame for doing nothing special is nothing out of the ordinary. For example, Danielle Bregoli, who appeared on Dr.Phil in 2016 and gained public attention after a video of her saying her famous catchphrase “Catch me outside, how about that?” went viral. The epitome of a ‘celetiod’, as she gained a celebrity status out of nowhere. Since appearing on the show, Danielle has released music, however, she continues to remain relevant through sparking controversy for a number of reasons. With social media platforms being a significant part of our culture, there has been an increase in individuals such as Danielle.

Copyright: https://gfycat.com

However, by using Rojek’s definition of celebrities, it is difficult to place social media influencers in any of these categories. Rojek (2001) argued that a celebrity is capable of creating an impact and is able to influence the minds of the public. Influencers are individuals who have gained success and fame by identifying themselves as experts on social media platforms (Khamis, Ang, and Welling 2017), they are able to create impact and influence their followers but many would do not acknowledge influencers as celebrities so which category do they fit into?

To conclude, there are a number of ways to define the word celebrity as internet celebrities continue to evolve. Although online and mainstream celebrities are separate entities, it is becoming harder to distinguish between the two and as a result, ordinary people are given a celebratory status through the process of sparking public attention. In my next blog, I intend to examine and explore the realm of influencers as well as identifying the impact that they have on the younger generation of our society.

Stay tuned :)


Barrett, G. (2018). How the ‘Cash Me Outside’ girl became an award-nominated rapper. Retrieved 5 December 2020, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-43808952

Choi, C., & Berger, R. (2009). Ethics of Celebrities and Their Increasing Influence in 21st Century Society. Journal Of Business Ethics, 91(3), 313–318. doi: 10.1007/s10551–009–0090–4

Juntiwasarakij, S. (2018). Framing emerging behaviors influenced by internet celebrity. Kasetsart Journal Of Social Sciences, 39(3), 550–555. doi: 10.1016/j.kjss.2018.06.014

Khamis, S., Ang, L., & Welling, R. (2016). Self-branding, ‘micro-celebrity’ and the rise of Social Media Influencers. Celebrity Studies, 8(2), 191–208. doi: 10.1080/19392397.2016.1218292

Rojek, C. (2015). Celebrity. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia Of Consumption And Consumer Studies, 1–3. doi: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs036