Hi Tumblr. Long time no see. I’ll start posting things on here again soon, honest.
The term celebrity is commonplace. People refer to themselves as a celebrity and others connote celebrity status with well-known or revered individuals; but what defines a celebrity? Here I will examine the notion of the term and apply these ideas to the Twitter user @ElderRon and a pig.
The dictionary definition of the term celebrity is as follows: “the state of being well known”.
To some, the pig from The Only Way Is Essex is revered as a celebrity – he is well known and even has somewhat of a fan base. (I think his name is Mr Darcy, but I could be wrong. Just search Twitter and you’ll soon find his following.) But what about this inimitable pig allows him celebrity status? His starring role in the ITV2 reality-soap-drama-whateverelseyoucancallit series, The Only Way Is Essex (or TOWIE as it’s affectionately known), undoubtedly is the catalyst of his fame but for those who don’t watch the series this humble pig’s celebrity notoriety is lost. Therefore, it can be deduced that the notions of celebrity are relative.
The notions of celebrity are relative to those aware of the person – so Mr Darcy the TOWIE pig is only a celebrity to those who are familiar with the series. It could be asked, however, at what stage of notoriety does “well known” become celebrity? How well known does this pig need to be before he is classed as a celebrity? For me, someone who doesn’t (yet) watch TOWIE (but clearly insists on using the acronym), I don’t consider the pig a celebrity – although his continued appearances on my Twitter and Tumblr feeds would say otherwise.
In a similar way, can we then consider @ElderRon a celebrity? If you didn’t attend the Student Radio Conference last month then already you’re questioning who this Ron guy is, but if you did you probably do notarise him with some celebrity status. Let me explain, Ron was the unforgettable bus driver who tirelessly ferried students between campuses for the Student Radio Conference in Hatfield this year – without him, there would’ve been some long, hungover morning walks between campuses. It wasn’t until after the conference did @ElderRon’s Twitter presence emerge to the #sracon twittersphere – and he was an instant hit. Apparently his presence online is well known by the students of the University of Hertfordshire, and now amongst the attendees of the conference. To everyone else however, he is just another Twitter user. Relatively, to the attendees of the conference and the students that travel on his bus, @ElderRon is a celebrity.
Other than being simply well known, the discourses of the @ElderRon Twitter account can be analysed – his celebrity is not only relative to those who have travelled on his bus service, but also relative to his Twitter account. By including the noun ‘Elder’ in his Twitter username, Ron displays a discourse and connotes ideas of age, seniority and education over his followers and fans – something that is revered as part of his celebrity both on Twitter and in real life. This throws up another question, would @ElderRon’s online persona still echo his real-life celebrity if his username was different?