18 October 2009

How to Get Attention

To get anything done in this world— especially on the internet— requires the unmitigated, if brief, attention of a network of mostly twenty-somethings with nominal social aptitude. How else do you think Mir-Hossein Mousavi was elected President of Iran? But, if you have loftier goals, such as having people notice how crazy you are, you'll need everyone's full attention, mass media and twitterati alike.

So, if you want people to think, for example, that your son is aboard an experimental aircraft you constructed for no apparent purpose other than looking like a flying saucer, start with a reality television show so everyone has a point of reference, and increase your celebrity profile from there. Then, try some of the following (note, however, that the balloon/experimental aircraft/UFO bit is played out right now and you should give it some time before you attempt it):

  • Fake your own death. Once word gets out that you died (as long as you are or once were important enough for us to care) in a horrifying hovercraft accident or of an undiagnosed, untreatable, extremely rare congenital disorder, everyone will mourn you for probably a solid week. You may, however, be upstaged by a bigger celebrity actually dying, and there's always a chance your cover will be blown when someone notices you leaving a 7-11 with a Big Gulp.
  • Start a charity that does work exactly like the work being done by another charity that already exists. Obviously, the work you're doing to ensure that people associate your face with other people helping the less fortunate is significant enough to be done twice. This is also a good way to spend a bunch of money on marketing, both traditional and viral (i.e. on the internet), and get a sweet tax write-off since it's for charity. Bonus!
  • Go crazy on a talk show or news program. Try a racist tirade, or maybe an "accidental" swear word. You could shout something at the President or a fellow Senator. Jump on a couch. Celebrity is about being decidedly non-normal, and you need to prove that to the world in a way that is modestly memorable and easily translates into a YouTube clip. By the eye of Zolnak, right you guys?
  • Live an unnecessarily public life. This one is not so much a method, but a whole lifestyle. If you want to be a celebrity, you need to believe you are a celebrity, and the universe will turn you into one via a mysterious and suppressed mechanism know only to a few true believers and everyone who watches Oprah. If you're having a divorce, have it publicly. If you're having kids, have like a dozen or so at once. Publicly. Let someone photograph your naughty bits. Do this all the time. People need to know details about your life that they do not remotely want to know. This way, you will be irrevocably seared into their memories forever.
Remember, the most important thing in being famous is getting people to pay attention to you. It doesn't matter what you do to do it, but do it with all your heart. And remember to have fun!

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