5th October 2022 – (Hong Kong) According to an article in Forbes, besides sharing critical accolades and being recognised as voices of many generations, Beyonce, Oprah, Rupi Kaur, and Adele share a similar social media strategy: they follow zero people on Instagram. While they can each count millions of followers who eagerly hit refresh in anticipation of their next post (especially in Queen Bey’s case; this is the woman whose pregnancy announcement was the most buzzed about and most-liked post of 2017), they have each remained true to their “follow nobody” rule. By staying focused on your followers’ comments ensures that you are influenced by your feed, and your feed alone. By not viewing others’ posts and stories, you’re automatically tuning out the distractions.
However, those who follow zero people are normally celebrities or top social media influencer who aspire to be famous. The Malaysia model Lebara who attracted widespread media attention recently by sharing a video of TVB General Manager kissing her near the lips during a spontaneous birthday celebration is definitely mimicking these celebrities by not following anyone. Her followers have shot to more than 56,000 as of today and it seems like she is more than happy to keep the controversial video containing the kissing scene by Tsang on her account. For a newcomer like Lebara, any publicity is good publicity.
Meanwhile, Maria Cordero, singer, actress, TV Host and DJ from Hong Kong said yesterday that she believes it was the Malaysian model who released the video on social media to gain publicity. She felt that Eric has been used by the model because without sharing the video, she would still remain anonymous. Cordero reminded Eric not to simply kiss any girl to avoid being taken advantage again.
According to Malaysian media reports, the 26-year-old Lebara was formerly known as Mindy before going to Hong Kong to expand her career. Lebara is said to be a former student at the Amber Chia Academy, a local modelling school and has represented Malaysia for shows in South Korea. She now works for NOW MODELS in Hong Kong.
Sources revealed that Lebara often goes to dinners arranged for rich men and yacht parties, and it is rumoured that she is the goddaughter of 77-year-old Lawrence Yu Kam-kee, Chairman of the China Renji Medical Group Limited. The 77-year-old Yu is often photographed by reporters entering different hotels with young women. In 2021, he contracted COVID and spent 15 days in hospital.
A research conducted by lifeintelligence.io said that almost everyone is aware of the rise of social media influencers. More than ever before, young people are doing outrageous and potentially dangerous things on the internet in order to gain attention. Today, many people are attempting to go viral through instagram, twitter, and especially Tik Tok. There are countless viral trends that people participate in to gain popularity on social media apps. Sometimes it seems like people are obsessed with how many likes, views, or comments they get. Wanting to be famous is not a new concept but it has been exacerbated due to social media.
The “fame motive” has actually been studied as a psychological concept. In a research setting the desire for fame has been measured through a series of questionnaires. One approach is to use multiple questionnaires that are aimed at measuring materialism, susceptibility to social influence, celebrities’ social power, self-concept clarity, and desire for fame (Gountas, Gountas, Reeves, & Moran 2012).
- “I’d be happier if I could afford to buy nicer things.”
Celebrities’ social power:
- “Famous celebrities are perceived to be powerful and influential”
- “Famous celebrities are recognized and acknowledged as successful people.”
Desire for fame:
- “One day I would like to be famous”
- “I love the idea of becoming a famous person.”
- “I would like to be a famous celebrity because it would give me a higher social status.”
The desire for fame is commonly associated with negative well-being outcomes. A 2019 study of 437 people found that the desire for fame accounted for 7% of a variance in psychiatric symptoms (anxiety, depression, paranoid ideation, and hostility factors) while need to belong accounted for 18% (Zsila, Urbán, McCutcheon, & Demetrovics 2019). A strong desire for fame, as well as the need to belong, can lead to negative mental health outcomes.
People with a strong desire for fame use social media in a way that reflects their need for attention and popularity. This can be potentially problematic considering the negative effects that social media can have on mental health.
Number of Posts
People with a desire for fame tend to post more often than those who are not focused on fame. It seems like Lebara fits into this category. A study of 221 undergraduate students from a large university in the Northeast was conducted to determine the relationship between watching reality TV, desire for fame, and the use of social media. The results reveal that the desire for fame was significantly associated with exhibitionism and exhibitionism was significantly associated with photo posting and status updating (Rui & Stefanone 2016). In this research exhibitionism refers to behaviours aimed at showing off.
Similar results were found in a Korean study of 239 Instagram users aged 20–39 years. The findings indicated that “ individuals higher in narcissism tended to post selfies and self-presented photos, update their profile picture more often, and spend more time on Instagram” (Moon, Lee, Lee, Choi, & Sung 2016). Narcissism is highly linked to the desire for fame. The results of these two studies demonstrate that people who have a strong desire for fame or attention tend to post more often. This may be because more posts equals more chances for attention.
Types of Social Media Posts
The desire for fame also impacts what type of posts a person is making. It was found that “narcissistic people drew attention to themselves by displaying self-promoting and sexy photos of themselves all the time on their social media pages. Those looking for attention tend to post more provocative photos or other self-promoting. These posts are aimed at making the poster look more appealing.
As explained above exhibitionism is a main component of showcasing the desire for fame on social media. In a 2019 study researchers found “the exhibitionism component of narcissism tends to be associated with less privacy control on SNSs [Social Networking Sites], i.e., profiles that are publicly accessible” (Nardis & Panek 2019). Social media users who desire fame and attention typically have public profiles in hopes that more people will access their content. These trends are easy to spot in the accounts of top social media influencers. Typically influencers have multiple posts a day, to keep followers engaged. They also have many photos showcasing their physical attractiveness and all their accounts are public.
Three possible causes for the desire for fame are narcissism, insecure self-esteem and the brain chemistry of self-disclosure:
As briefly mentioned above, narcissism is a main component of the desire for fame. It is common knowledge that the concept of narcissism comes from Greek mythology. Narcissus fell in love with himself when he looked at his reflection. Narcissism involves being self-centered, entitlement, and a need for admiration.
The way that narcissism is measured is through the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. The Narcissistic Personality Inventory has items that clearly relate to fame seeking. For example, “I really like to be the center of attention” and “I like to start new fads and fashions” (Raskin & Terry 1988). People who are high in narcissism desire attention and to be a leader of some kind. Narcissists believe that they deserve to be the center of attention. These are traits that a congruent with wanting to be a celebrity or social media influencer.
2. Insecure (or, unstable high) Self-Esteem
Typically people conceptualize self esteem as either high or low. A better way to think about self-esteem is whether your self-esteem is secure or insecure. Secure self-esteem is stable and does not change based on external factors. Insecure self-esteem fluctuates often and is based heavily on external validation and attention.
A study of 181 female undergraduates found that “individuals who possess unstable high self-esteem reported a stronger desire to become famous than did those with stable high self-esteem” (Noser & Zeigler-Hill 2014). Someone can have a positive opinion of themselves but what this opinion is based on is important. Self-esteem built on external validation, such as likes, followers, and comments on social media, is likely to change from day to day.
A study from the University of Utah found that narcissists reported greater self-esteem instability and that “narcissists who were low in evaluative integration experienced the greatest self-esteem instability” (Rhodewalt, Madrian, & Cheney 1998). Evaluative integration refers to how connected positive and negative information about the self is connected. People low in evaluative integration may only think of negative self-information instead of a mix of negative and positive. This shows that narcissists, people who desire fame, have insecure self-esteem.
3. The Brain Chemistry of Self-Disclosure
One reason that people may crave fame and attention is that sharing information about yourself actually impacts your brain. It has been found that “self-disclosure was strongly associated with increased activation in brain regions that form the mesolimbic dopamine system” (Tamir & Mitchell 2012). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in how people feel pleasure.
Sharing information about yourself causes a release of dopamine in the brain. That means that sharing information about yourself psychologically feels good. People can be motivated to share information about themselves online because of the internal reward of dopamine. People seeking fame may be looking for a platform to disclose more information about themselves because of the positive feelings associated with sharing personal information.
The connection between dopamine and self-disclosure also explains narcissism. Narcissists feel a rush of dopamine when they talk about themselves, which is why they continue to do so. These people often only talk about themselves or things that are related to them because it feels good to do so.
Overall, people desire fame because they are seeking external validation and attention. Social media, such as Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, and more have made looking for this type of attention fast, fun, and convenient. These platforms allow those seeking fame to potentially reach millions of people.