Listen, I'm not gonna lie to you — social media can be pretty validating. There's just something about knowing that friend-of-a-friend you met in college and literally never speak to liked the carefully curated Instagram post of your day at the beach, you know?
Sometimes, though, it can be easy to let the likes and the attention inflate our egos. Well, Redditor u/JesseB342 asked, "What’s the smallest amount of internet fame/clout that you’ve seen go to someone’s head?" There were tons of tales of people who definitely thought they were massive celebs in the making...and even some self-call-outs, too. Here are 16 of the very best ones:
1. "There's a kid I work with who's (I believe) seven years old, and he's a 'YouTube influencer.' By that, I mean the kid's parents made a YouTube channel that follows the same format as stuff like Ryan's World, got lucky with one video that got around 10,000 views (all of their others barely have a hundred), and it immediately went to their heads. The kid's dad refers to himself as his 'manager' and answers questions on the kid's behalf. They hand out business cards with all their social media info, and they even GOT THE KID'S NAME LEGALLY CHANGED to the name he uses on YouTube. The worst part is that the kid seems indifferent at best to all of this. It's 100% his parents pushing it on him."
2. "I entered a blog competition at my university the summer before I started. I won, and I and two others were given a free laptop with the understanding that we'd keep publishing blogs as 'insiders' for the uni to use as a marketing tool. I put one up a week, and I enjoyed it. They were decently entertaining and linked to on the uni website, but probably got no more than a few dozen reads. On my birthday later that year, the bouncers at a club wouldn't let me in because I appeared too drunk. I got into a pedantic argument with them about whether the pavement was public property or not, then shouted that I was going to write about them in my uni-sanctioned blog."
"I woke up hungover the next day and did not write about the incident in my uni-sanctioned blog."
3. "I made a fairly successful MySpace-type quiz once. Over a million people took it. I put that on my resume."
4. "I work for a company that books luxury travel. Think $20,000 packages. A woman contacted us wanting a free trip in exchange for posting it on her blog. She proudly proclaimed that she had 800 followers."
5. "Someone I know through a mutual friend was a streamer. Occasionally he would hop on Discord with us to talk with said mutual friend. But, being a 'streamer', he was pretty much always streaming whenever he's on/gaming. He would talk to his stream while sitting in our discord, not even muting himself. He literally just talked over other people's conversations. And some of us were rightfully like WTF, and his response was always 'I can't help it guys, I'm a streamer, I can't leave them hanging.' His stream literally had, like, five to ten viewers max at any given time, and he'd been streaming for years."
6. "A guy from my hometown, who was sort of a skeezeball, helped some elderly folks escape a fire. The act itself was commendable and he deserved the recognition he received in local media. He went viral for a week or two but...uhh...five plus years after the fact, he was still using that as a way to try to get out of traffic tickets or being cut off at the local bars after refusing to pay tabs. My brother encountered his Instagram recently and his bio says something like 'Unspoken hero, DM me for details.'"
7. "A girl I was friends with posted a few videos on Vine back in the day and they blew up. I mean, really blew up. She was interviewed by newspapers, did sketches for the local radio station, and was even on TV. For Scotland, that was pretty shocking, because we don't normally do well in this sort of thing. She quit her managerial job at the supermarket she worked at, convinced that she was going to be famous from Vine."
"This was when being an 'influencer' or 'content creator' was relatively new. She cut everyone out of her life that was hesitant about the decision, and that included me. We'd been friends with her for around seven years at that point. Long story short, she failed. She now works in a nightclub at the bar. She had three months of fame before she realized no one gave a shit about the videos and she couldn't come up with anything funny to write and star in after it."
8. "A classmate of mine got invited into a pyramid scheme through Instagram. She immediately started planning her entire influencer career. She got really mad when I wrote an extensive explanation on what a pyramid scheme is, and showed her I’d gotten dozens of those DM’s before."
9. "A new local TV anchor woman was trying to pay for her dinner at a restaurant with a check. The restaurant didn't take checks — it was posted all over the front door she walked through. She stood up and starts screaming at the waitress, 'Do YOU know who I AM?!?' The waitress said no and walked off to get her manager. Needless to say, she didn't get to pay with a check."
"Two weeks later, the same anchorwoman came into the department store I worked at. She had a mound of clothes in her arms and threw them on the counter, asking what kind of discount she gets for being a local celebrity. My coworker told her no such thing existed. She pushed the pile of clothes off of the counter and told my coworker that she needed to learn how to treat the upper class better. Yeah, she's not our local TV anchorwoman anymore."
10. "Back in high school, I commented on a Childish Gambino Instagram post and it got a like from the official account. I proceeded to tell every single person in my class. My friends were singing my praises, like, 'That’s so cool, wow THE Childish Gambino! You probably got the biggest celebrity acknowledgement via social media." Stuff like that. I found out later on that it was a Childish Gambino fan account with the same profile pic that liked my comment, not actually Childish Gambino. I never told anyone."
11. "My little sister signed up for something on the Internet that sent fake likes and comments to her Instagram. On one of her posts, it sent like seven fake accounts with purchased followers to 'ask her' to join their modeling agencies. She literally couldn’t stop talking about how she was going to get an agent and how she was the exact right height for the runway (she was 5’6” 😀), and how she needed her dad to give her $400 for a modeling course, because she was going to be soooo famous."
12. "Back in the day, when I played World of Warcraft, there was a guy on my server who had a tiny amount of name recognition. He was good at the game and spent a lot of time and energy organizing things. People on the server knew him and would ask for his help, or show him deference in order to get his attention on things. One day, he put together an optional raid in the game. At the end of it, a particularly rare item dropped. Instead of an open roll — which was the standard at the time — he simply gave the item to his friend. When people complained, he said something like, 'I'm so and so, I'm the most important raid leader on this server, you're all lucky to even be here right now, so shut up and deal with it.' Well, screenshots were taken and links were sent around. The dude ended up transferring off the server less than a week later because nobody would give him the time of day."
13. "A friend of mine was in a video at a car meet that went viral back in 2011 or 2012. He said, like, eight words in total. You couldn’t even see him, but you could hear him. He would go around telling people that he was 'famous' for being in a viral YouTube video. I was like, 'If you have to announce you are famous, you might not be as famous as you think, broski.'"
14. "My daughter got 20K followers on TikTok and decided to leave her husband and six-year-old daughter to go be part of the convention circuit. She dresses up and gushes about meeting 'famous' people."
15. "There's a guy on TikTok who went viral for dancing in that parade to 'I’m just thinking with my dick.' He went home to Indianapolis and started doing meet and greets with people at local car dealerships."
16. "I started a fantasy football podcast with some friends a few years ago. After one episode with like five plays, I thought, 'Man, this is easy. We’ll get big in no time.' So, I talked to the guys about setting up a Patreon and seeing what they thought about talking to fantasy football platforms to be their official podcast. I was experiencing the high of sharing something I created with the world like it’s god’s gift to mankind."
"We went on to do the show for a couple years and definitely tempered our expectations after a few episodes, but it was a lot of fun either way."
Now it's your turn! Do you have a story of someone you know getting "internet famous" and letting it get to their head. Or...did it happen to you? If so, tell us about it in the comments below or via this anonymous form.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.