Dear Kay: both of my children refuse to aspire to any professional career other than social media influencer. A bunch of their friends are “famous” online, so we’re not sure what to tell them. I’m scared they’re going to grow up to be really, really stupid and annoying like all other influencers. What should I do? — Sincerely, Terrified Parent Of Gen Z Monsters
Hi there, Terrified Parent,
You should absolutely be terrified, but you’re also not alone. Research has found that almost 90% of young Americans (mostly Gen Z) want to be social media influencers, according to an older report from CBS. While this statistic should terrify everyone, it doesn’t seem to bother anyone anymore. The preference for becoming famous or an influencer instead of doing something helpful, or purposeful with one’s life, is probably why we’re heading for apocalypse as a society, but your children can still be saved.
Just keep showing them, not nagging them, about these three universal truths:
1. Becoming an influencer means you have to actually be amazing at something. It’s tragic how many young people want to be famous but are completely untalented in almost all areas of life. A handful of people are actually talented at marketing themselves and their unique skillset, but none of them set-out to become “influencers.” Those who are sort-of okay at say, art, broadcasting, etc., become content influencers. It’s basically a bullshit job for bullshit people.
That’s why I always tell all aspiring writers who ask me about getting on television or growing their social media audience that unless they have a niche beat, or a very good friend who will put in a good word at a network, they’re never going to be name-recognition famous.
Most don’t want to do the grueling work it takes to be an expert in their field. We all know the latter folks are the most annoying, cringe, and tragic souls. Have you told your kids how much everyone will dislike them if they try to become famous without being good at anything?
Dear, Kay: My Kid Came Home Insisting On The Pronoun ‘Zhir’. What Should I Do?
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 26, 2022
2. The life of an influencer is sad, lonely, and never lasts more than a glorified 15 minutes of micro-fame. The one common thread I’ve found amongst all the real and wannabe influencers is the profound loneliness they experience. Every friendship is haunted by a question mark of authenticity. Every professional engagement is dependent on self-made relevance.
As soon as the glitter fades, a slew of people younger, more hungry, more talented, are waiting to climb up the celebrity mountain and take the top spot. For those who’ve destroyed relationships on the way up to their short-lived success, the way back down is much lonelier and harsher than they ever could have anticipated.
As a close friend and mentor once told me: “No one is special. Everyone is replaceable, even those we consider the ‘greats,’ won’t be by the end of the decade.” Please remind your children of this constantly.
3. Life after moderate fame is even worse than most of us could possibly imagine. Aside from the destruction of personal relationships and one’s professional reputation, the mental health decline that almost all celebrities experience post-popularity is a haunting tale. If you have daughters, ask them if they want to grow old like Madonna (who looks like mental illness personified). If you have sons, remind them that no one actually respects boys like Logan Paul. They’re just modern day jesters. (RELATED: Dear Kay, I Find Jeffrey Dahmer Attractive. Is That Normal?)
However, there is hope. If your children still want to become famous, make sure their role models are people who can mitigate the worst effects of fame. Make sure they develop transferable skills that will guarantee long-term employment regardless of celebrity.
Remind your children that nothing they do professionally will ever be as important as their family. Perhaps once they grow up and out of this silly fad of fame, they’ll go on to live great lives without the need for clicks and likes from strangers on the internet.