I consider myself lucky in a way that I didn’t grow up with constant internet connectivity. When I was a child I got bored sometimes. When I didn’t know the answer to a question, I didn’t google it, I just rang my mother or looked it up in a book. The selfie disorder was not a thing, and narcissism was considered a symptom of sociopathy, not a widely socially accepted behavior. TV stars of the 80s and 90s were few, but they were undoubtedly stars. There was no debate about it, no “stars” like today’s, who have 40 million YouTube followers watching them play video games, though no one can tell you their names.
Iceland has its share of social media stars: people who look absolutely talentless but still draw more viewers than the local news. So, it’s probably time to redefine “talent.” It doesn’t just mean singing or dancing or writing anymore. Apparently it’s also a talent to earn 20,000 followers in a nation of 330,000 (that’s around 6% of the country).
This is the generation that grew up on the internet and came of age as the PR Generation, who efficiently control how the world sees them. And more alarming, this generation is selling us stuff without actually selling it to us. They are influencing the mind of an even younger generation who can’t tell the difference between CNN and the Onion. This is worrying, and it isn’t going to change—it’s only going to intensify.
We at the Reykjavík Grapevine don’t have any answers, but we are curious. That’s why we asked the biggest Snapchat celebrities in Iceland to explain this phenomenon. But the answers were inconclusive: nobody really knows what they’re doing. Perhaps that’s the magic of it all.
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