Reluctantly Famous – Updated

**Score one for the skeptic in me.  A marketing company is taking credit for the success of this viral marketing campaign**

I like to think we do a fairly decent job of monitoring our kids’ consumption of the Internet.  While I’m frustrated and annoyed by their delight in Minecraft-themed music parodies, it is a relatively harmless exploration of part of the Web.  Knowing I can’t limit their exposure entirely, I try to allow them acceptable access.

But what if someone made one of them an Internet sensation overnight?

This kid working at Target apparently had this happen to him.

The claim is that a random female customer snapped a picture of him at work and then posted it online, where it went viral.  That means lots and lots and lots of people around the world are looking at this picture of him.

It’s not a bad picture, but I can’t help but imagine the potential devastation of having this happen to you.  Imagine how your friends will react.  How something completely out of your control will become your defining characteristic for some period of time.  The Internet will forget quickly enough.  But your school mates?  Not likely to forget it so soon.

Curious to me is Target’s apparent involvement in furthering the Internet fame of this employee.  Did they ask him about that?  Does he get a choice in any of this?  It doesn’t seem that way.

The skeptic in me assumes that Target orchestrated this whole thing, that it’s really a clever marketing ploy.  I would feel slightly better about that.  But what if it isn’t?  What if it was Alexis instead of Alex?  Would we be outraged about the intrusion on a young woman’s life more than we would the intrusion on this young man’s life?  Would the person who snapped and posted the pic be termed a stalker or a pedophile or any number of other harsh terms?

Seeking fame for yourself by volunteering to be photoed or videoed is one thing.  Not having a choice about it?  That’s kind of creepy.  And maybe it’s terrifyingly simple.

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