With the rise of the Internet, there’s also a rise in what I’ve come to think of as “micro-celebrity” — something that looks and feels a little bit like celebrity, but only with a very small group of people. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that my own personal stock has risen from non-celebrity to micro-celebrity. And I’ve not always done well with it. For example, I posted this in late 2008 in my LiveJournal:
I’ve never quite gotten used to people coming up to me who know who I am and what I do without me knowing them at all.
I then go on to say I’ve gotten better about it, and that’s true — I don’t think it’s some kind of elaborate put-on, nor do I feel that it’s somehow undeserved. But I still don’t think I’ve gotten used to it.
Over at Chuck Wendig’s blog, it was mentioned that some people look up to game designers like rock stars. I tried to dissemble and be coy, and that lasted one comment.
Before that, I joked about not having a Facebook fan page and therefore not being a real Internet celebrity. Within minutes, I had one.
Mundane things like my reading habits are considered newsworthy.
Of course, there’s the ugly side too, where people take swings at me online, accuse me of being a liar or a shill or an asshole or whatever, because even micro-celebs have haters. (To which, friend and co-worker Russell Bailey has his own opinion.)
Don’t get me wrong — this isn’t me trying to be passive-aggressive and trying to get more people to tell me they like me. That’s pretty fucking obvious. But there’s a small, illogical part of me that just really, sincerely doesn’t get it. It’s like there’s this person that everyone else sees but I can’t. All I see is the kid with frizzy hair who got so frustrated that his hearing was bad that he stayed home and played games on his C64 and drew board games on chunks of cardboard. And it’s weird to me that there are dozens and maybe even hundreds of people who know of me, know about me, know what I sound like and what I think about, but who haven’t met me.
This is about the point in the blog where I take all of these observations and boil it down into something pithy and insightful, some kind of “take home” point. But man, I’ve got nothing. It’s just something that’s a part of my life now. Now I’m an introvert that has to learn to be gracious when strangers start talking to me very enthusiastically. I have to be a little more careful what I say online or in public places, because it might get reported somewhere else (probably out of context). I need to remember that there’s a part of me out there that isn’t me but has my face and my name, and I don’t really have any control over it. 1 It’s really cool and really weird and a little scary, and it’s just something that catches me by surprise once in a while.
Just some musings while I get ready for bed.
Addendum: bar_sinister over at LiveJournal pointed me to a concept called “Imposter Syndrome.” It’s not directly related (I know I’ve worked hard for my success, for example), but there are bits in this that are fascinating.
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- Is that what fetches are in Changeling: The Lost? Celebrity perception made flesh? ↩