How to Take Advantage of Internet Fame in 2016

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Things got a little less fun for Ken Bone and The Bone Zone after internet sleuths took a look through the Reddit history of everyone’s favorite everyman and didn’t care much for what they saw.

There was a very important lesson to be learned from Ken Bone’s AMA. It’s a lesson that everyone who becomes (or has aspirations of becoming) an internet celebrity needs to learn; beware your digital past.

Here are some essential things that you should do to ensure the first seconds of your fifteen minutes of fame are smooth sailing.

Check Your Old Tweets and Consider Deleting Them

Your Twitter past will definitely come back to haunt you. Everyone has tweeted something at some point that they would prefer the world didn’t get to see.

It could be something completely offensive, or maybe it’s something that’s going to be misconstrued. It could also just be something that’s pretty embarrassing such as all those tweets you sent to a pop star when you were a teenager.

Mashable has a great guide to deleting old tweets by making use of the Advanced Search feature and online tools such as the Twitter Archive Eraser. Of course if you’ve got some major problems with Twitter and you want to start again you could always erase your entire Twitter history and get a fresh start.

When it comes to Twitter our hero Ken Bone was pretty lucky. He only sent out one tweet before his account exploded and it was sent to Arianna Grande.

Privatize Facebook and Instagram

As soon as you start to become any level of internet famous reporters start looking for you and will even look for your family. If you made a poor costume choice for Halloween it’s going to find its way into a news story by the time you can eat lunch. If your friends know some really embarrassing stories about you from the days of your misguided youth they’re likely going to spill the beans. You should take a few minutes to clean up your social media profiles and privatise your Facebook by setting it to friends-only. If you can then you should also remove any tags from images before a few years ago (2007 at the latest).

Mashable put together a great guide for locking down Facebook profiles and keeping them as private as possible.

Start Fresh on Reddit

One of the best ways to reach new fans would be to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. This is what Ken Bone did and it’s a mistake you need to learn from.

Ken committed the very amateur mistake of using his regular profile for his AMA. The one he had been using for some time before becoming known around America. You know; the one he used to make comments on subs about pregnancy porn, the one he used to admit committing fraud, and the same one he used to make questionable comments about the Trayvon Martin shooting.

It’s a good idea to drop or delete your Reddit profile and start fresh. Or just be a better person before you become famous so your regular profile can’t be used against you.

So what else is left after taking care of social media?

Avoid Selling Out (At Least At First)

Ken Bone sold out pretty quickly and was found promoting Uber recently. He reportedly only did it for credits too. Not to mention Chewbacca Mom who brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free stuff including a trip to Disney World. Then she sold out and started charging people for her autograph.

You will undoubtedly receive a lot of offers, but you should be careful about which ones you pick and make deals as fast as you can. How many eyeballs you have on you determines your worth and plenty of brands are willing to pay some big money to chase the zeitgeist. Move quickly and smartly while you still hold any power. You should consider attempting to trademark the reason that you got famous.

Or you could avoid selling out altogether and tell the brand that your integrity isn’t for sale.

Dress Differently Sometimes

Dressing in outfits other than the one that got you famous in the first place can be difficult because everyone wants to see you do what made them notice you. But the spotlight quickly fades if you don’t build up a public profile other than the one hit that made you a wonder.

Millions of people wanted to see Chewbacca Mom in her mask and they stopped caring when she took it off. Without his red sweater Ken Bone really is just an everyman.

Go Long

During the first few moments of your fame things can move pretty quickly, but you never know; your time in the spotlight might last a little longer than you think. Joe the Plumber has gone on to become a war correspondent, a media mogul, and even an author since he first came to light in 2008. Think about what you could get out of your time in the spotlight and plan appropriately.

With that said, we move on to our last point;

Know When You’re Done

Eventually people will stop caring about you, and it can happen to you sooner than you think. There’s nothing wrong with this. You haven’t always been famous so you can go back to not being famous. There’s no need to stay too long in the spotlight. After things start to die down and the offers you get become just cheap and sordid it’s time you started saying no and bowed out. Go back to the quiet life you enjoyed before, and be happy that there was a time when everyone on the internet knew who you were and loved you, even if you are just a footnote now.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.