The age of the SIP, the Slightly Important Person is upon us.
Reading Joseph Campbell I learned that the difference between a hero and a celebrity is that the first lives for a cause greater than himself whereas for the latter, being a celebrity is all about celebrating the self.
But like it or not, the age of the microcelebrity or Slightly Important Person is upon us when just about anyone, even a Road Junky editor, can open his own Facebook fan page and beg for followers. The personal is not just political these days, it’s also become public.
In my dystopian moments I see a future where everyone is under scrutiny all the time, photos of them uploaded real time, references written on their conduct as a friend, flatmate or lover (imagine herexboyfriend.com) and so everyone will be on their best behaviour all the time, watching their every word and action in case it counts against them somewhere, sometime.
Now you know what it feels like to live in North Korea.
But on the bright side, for the traveling writer, photographer or artist, the cult of the microcelebrity allows them to develop a following, a fan base, an audience who might eventually be persuaded to part with cash for their albums, books or documentaries. Or maybe there’s some ad revenue there somewhere if you get enough fans. At any rate, when it comes to selling your film or manuscript, there’s no harm in showing that you’re not just a unknown nobody, you have 500 fans on Facebook!
With a sinking feeling of dread, I’m stepping out from behind the smokescreen of Roadjunky to become a SIP, myself. I’m exposing myself to the mindless chatter of fans with nothing better to do than post on my wall and offer 1 word reviews on my stories (lame!), and bind myself hand and foot to the mercy of social media.
Until I can run away to the next rainbow gathering and forget that the internet even exists.
In the meantime I’m going to make Hand to Mouth to India free once I reach 500 Facebook fans and the next book, Tales of a Road Junky when I get to 1000. Let’s see Harper Collins turn me down then.