15 Minutes of Fame

In 1968 Andy Warhol said, “Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”  His prediction seems to be more and more attainable in this new era of social media. Now, all you have to do is make a video of a silly dance, a cute kitten, or film your child on pain killers. Some people go out of their way seeking their “15 minutes,” while others just stumble upon it.  This is the case for Matt Harding. In 2003, a friend told him to do his funny dance while visiting Hanoi and post it on YouTube.  The rest is history.  Actually, Matt’s fame didn’t just magically happen overnight. Instead, the video floated around in cyberspace for year until someone showed it to someone who showed it to someone. One group of people that happened to get interested in it were some marketers from Stride Gum.  They saw the potential. So, in 2006, Stride Gum sent Matt on a 6 month trip to 39 different countries to do his little jig. Matt’s following started to grow. Viewers wrote in and asked to join in on his adventure. People from all over the world decided to dance with Matt when he hit their country.

What makes Matt’s video so unique is the power of dance. He doesn’t have to speak the language in the countries he’s visiting to communicate.  All he has to do is dance— and that brings laughter and joy to everyone, everywhere.  The power of dance is so contagious that people all over the world started to join in. Now what happens to these quasi-famous people after their “15 minutes?” Most simply disappear and go back to their normal lives.  But others keep trying to hold onto their glimpse of stardom.

In Matt’s case he never really cared for the normal 9 to 5 job or showing up at the same place everyday. He plans to take off on another adventure to Africa this January to continue his dancing spree.  We’ll have to wait an see what the future holds for Matt.  One thing is for sure:  as long as we have the internet, pseudo and social-media-made celebrities will be popping up left and right for years to come.

By: Krissy Trutor

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