Social media has allowed people to connect and share ideas in numerous ways. It has equally created avenues for various types of expression. Nevertheless, whereas some have used sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram for fun or information, others, like Logan Paul and Tomi Lahren, have used it to catapult themselves into the limelight. For those in the latter group, social media has been a tool by which they have been able to market themselves to the world, only revealing what will permit them to continue to hold court with their targeted audiences.
At 22, Logan Paul has already built a formidable career from his presence on social media. According to the Sun, he had gained a following from posting his six-second clips on the now-defunct Vine several years ago. He then continued to attract fans by posting his videos on YouTube and other social media sites.
For this activity, Paul earned an incredible $12.5 million last year. His insipid stunts and goofy skits also enabled him to enjoy a multitude of opportunities, including launching a clothing company and appearing on television.
On January 1, Logan Paul provoked outrage, however. The BBC reported that he had taken footage of an apparent suicide victim in Aokigahara, a forest in Japan that has acquired the reputation as the “suicide forest;” he posted it on YouTube. In the video, viewers saw Paul laughing and making jokes near the body. YouTube responded by removing his channels from Google Preferred.
Yet, this, along with a continuing barrage of criticism, has not dimmed his star power. Indeed, after stepping away from his activities for a brief period on account of the fallout, Paul has returned to the excitement of what is still a very large fan base. Moreover, his video teaser that announced his return to making videos had millions of views.
Social media has also permitted Tomi Lahren to strike career gold. She has been able to promote herself just as effectively as Paul. While he has generally performed frat-boy stunts for public consumption, Lahren, who is also a millennial, has offered a steady diet of red meat to a perpetually hungry base.
Hailed for a rapid delivery of her thoughts on current events, she first attracted attention from her videos on YouTube. She posted her Final Thoughts segment, which was a regular feature on her show at the then fledgling One America News Network, on the social media site. Per a report in the Guardian, her career trajectory since then has been astounding.
She eventually left this network for Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. After an unceremonious departure from Beck’s network, she rebounded with a new role on the Fox News Channel as a contributor in 2017.
Notwithstanding her success, the quality of her commentary is actually stubbornly pedestrian.
Yeah standing to respect the flag, anthem and brave military members who fight oversees so spoiled athletes can make millions to throw a ball...super offensive and controversial. Wow. Wow. Wow. https://t.co/saMLKoLSMd— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) January 23, 2018
In addition, her remarks can occasionally even be crude. Last week, the Daily News reported that Lahren’s crass reaction to U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy’s rebuttal to the State of the Union was met with heavy backlash, which prompted her to offer an apology to the Massachusetts politician.
My comments on my personal Instagram about Kennedy’s response were inappropriate and I take full responsibility for that. I got too upset. I sincerely apologize.— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) February 1, 2018
Logan Paul and Tomi Lahren have been able to flourish professionally in spite of their meager offerings. But, their thriving careers beg the question: Why are we allowing success to be earned so cheaply?
Although the very nature of social media functions well in American society where self-promotion and immediacy are valued, questions about the legitimacy and durability of such success cannot be ignored indefinitely. Moreover, at some point, even in the current climate, there has to be some substance from figures like Paul and Lahren to justify their time in the public eye. Otherwise, it might be time to redefine what success means.