#2. The Tweetspinner
Twitter is super important these days. Not only is it a great way to keep up with news and information and grainy pictures of your friends' lunches, but it's also a foolproof way of showing the world just how popular you are. Being one of those people with 50,000 followers who only follows like 22 people back is like the American Express Black Card of Internet credibility. It's what separates the @BillSimmons from the @SportsGuy33s of the world.
If you know the difference but don't like sports, you spend too much time on Twitter.
But not everyone gets to be popular. Some people have sex, some people buy sex, you know how it goes. It's no different with Twitter followers. The Tweetspinner is a person who uses shady software programs to build up a massive Twitter following, mistakenly believing that nobody will find it the least bit odd that they went from 500 followers to 75,000 followers overnight. These programs automatically follow users based on a predetermined set of criteria (anyone who tweets the word "boobs," for example). Ideally, those people will return the favor and, before long, you're following 50,000 people who follow you right back. It takes a village to make some people seem important, and to become a Tweetspinner, what you must do next ... is destroy that village.
Over the course of a few days or weeks, the Tweetspinner will systematically unfollow damn near all of the people who helped accomplish the impossible by making this lifeless Internet manipulator seem attention worthy. And that's the thanks they get. Unfollowed. Nice.
Of course, some people don't even put that much effort into being pretend interesting. Take current Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, for example.
No, seriously, take him.
He's being accused of just straight up buying Twitter followers (which, given his background, means he probably owns those people for real now) after gaining 175,000 new followers in just one weekend without so much as inadvertently tweeting a picture of his cock.
Rest assured, people notice it when "normal" people like you do it also. It's just that they don't care enough to say anything about it.
#1. The Person Who Thinks They're Famous
Here's a little technique I use to keep myself grounded. It's for those times when opening the Internet to see that something I've written has been read by hundreds of thousands of people leads me to mistakenly believe that I'm some kind of celebrity. After all, if a band sells a million albums, they're a hit. The logical extension there is that if my article hits 1,000,000 page views, I'm the new Coldplay.
It's perfectly logical thinking, if you're insane and don't understand how the Internet works. To keep those feelings at bay, I do this:
1. Line up 10 people
2. Tell them I work for Cracked
3. Bask in the blank stares
It never fails. Yes, Cracked is one of the biggest comedy sites on the Internet, but it's not like that's in the same realm as being, say, one of the biggest department stores in the world. On a monthly basis, we serve an audience about the size of New York, and maybe one or two of those other inconsequential smaller states up in that area.
Beige color indicates states that don't like to party.
If you're talking pure numbers, it's safe to say that most people in the world have not heard of Cracked.com. Or most any website, for that matter. Sure, the Googles and YouTubes of the world have become household names, but for the most part, if you work on the Internet, you might as well be working at the DMV as far as what it will do to help you gain any sort of enduring following with the American people.
"Famous" and "Internet famous" are not the same thing. "Famous" is getting hounded by paparazzi when you go to Whole Foods. "Internet famous" is getting an email from a lonely teen in the Midwest about how your article about growing up fat really spoke to them. You'll never have to go out in public wearing a disguise because that list article you wrote got a bunch of page views.
The Internet demands anonymity, and for the people who work on the Internet, anonymity is exactly what we get. Enjoy it while you can, "Internet celebrities." You'll probably miss the quiet times when you (I) finally do something someone gives a shit about.