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breaking my silence not tatti westbrook style

Podcasts, blogs, definitely youtube videos for people who don’t already have a huge following are basically just people talking to themselves. Hoping that one day, after years of monologuing to nobody, something will come of it. What I loved about stand up comedy was the ability to force people to hear you. Unless your set is that bad, for 10 minutes, you have an opportunity to not speak into the void for once. There’s an instant reaction, and hopefully connection, between you and the people you’re speaking to. Not having that as a constant, especially switching to ~blogging, has emphasized the silence that comes with the Internet as a medium.

I’ve been growing increasingly freaked out by Internet fame lately. Even though I have as much of a presence on Twitter as Meryl Steep in Mamma Mia 2, I haven’t tweeted in 2 months out of… fear? Every day, I watch female comedians of large and small platforms getting harassed on Twitter for jokes they weren’t even paid to put out. The only reaction being to these tweets are likes and COMMENTS- which I firmly believe are not the same thing as audience laughs. If someone said a whole sentence, or even a fraction of what the Incels say in the replies, they’d probably be kicked out?  Twitter is basically all of the negative parts of comedy- no pay, hecklers, and people stealing your jokes. Yet, Twitter plays an integral role in Internet comedy. Many comics get notoriety through Twitter, which does ultimately lead to jobs. But, at what cost?

TikTok is the new member of Internet fame- and arguably the most influential. There should definitely be an HBOMax documentary on its ridiculous impact on the music industry alone. But, beyond the artists who have found extreme success through TikTok, we find thousands of accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers with little niches. TikTok from what I’ve seen is extremely hit or miss in terms of harassment. There are cases/videos where it seems as if the comment section is tag teaming to ruin or build the creators ego. The frightening, and to some, enticing part of TikTok is the fame many extremely young people have found from it. People literally younger than me (and I’m 20) are millionaires from dancing and sponsorships. If that’s your thing, TikTok is quite possibly the best thing that could happen to you. But what scares me is the level of perception. No doubt, TikTok is better at getting your content “out there” than any other platform. And instead of everyone in the comments being a creepy 40 year old man, it’s high schoolers, which are a different kind of scary. 

As someone who loves writing and performing, both look and have different effects in the digital age. I want people to hear me, but I’m terrified of their ability to tell me exactly how they feel about it. I’d rather their judgement be a deafening silence in a comedy club that everyone forgets about than a comment posted for everyone to read and agree with forever and ever. BUT ALSO- beyond my irrational fears of being perceived- there is an immediacy to Internet celebrity. Things truly go viral “overnight,” and have the chance to change a person’s life, for better or for worse. 

There’s something about Internet comedy that breaks the fun of spontaneity. There’s also something about Internet fame that doesn’t sit right with me more so than “regular” fame. But I’m also not someone looking to join a Hype House, so. 

More soon. Send me your questions, ask me for advice, I plan to come back from my “fear of being perceived” silence. 

Xoxo rubes

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