Social media is making people brave

What is it about the virtual world that turns ordinary people into cynical critics or gutsy go-getters? It’s almost as if there are no social boundaries when it comes to social media.
One brave Marine, Scott Moore, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan, discovered the power of going viral when he and his buddies decided to make a video for YouTube asking celebrity Mila Kunis to the annual Marine Corps Ball this November as his date.
“Hey, Mila,” this extremely confident Marine starts out with a flirty tip of his glasses, “It’s Sgt. Moore, but you can call me Scott. I just wanted to take a moment out of my day to invite you to the Marine Corps Ball on Nov. 18 in Greenville, N.C., with yours truly. So take a second, think about it, and get back to me. All right. Bye now.”
And ladies and gentlemen, that was it. It’s only 19 seconds long and it has received over 3 million hits to date.
But more impressive than the video’s popularity was how fast it caught the attention of the Hollywood world. Justin Timberlake discovered it just when it had started to pick up speed and showed it to fellow “Friends With Benefits” co-star Mila during their interview with Fox News.
“I’m gonna work on this for you man,” Timberlake says to the camera. “This needs to go down.”
I’m not sure if it was pal Timberlake pulling weight or Kunis’ sense of patriotic duty, but surprisingly, the actress accepted.
I don’t think it’s necessarily surprising that she would say “yes” because she’s an A-lister, but more so because this guy is a complete stranger. What made this gutsy soldier think to himself one day, “Hmm. I really need a date to the ball in a few months … How about a celebrity?”
Maybe he was inspired by Brian Herzlinger who, back in 2004, made and starred in a documentary titled “My Date with Drew” about himself, a regular guy who had always had a crush on movie star and A-lister Drew Barrymore and went on a crazy quest to ask her out on a date all before his 30-day return policy for his camera from Circuit City expired.
This isn’t the first time a fan went viral to persuade a celebrity into doing something. Who could forget mega-fan David Matthews, a young man from San Antonio, Texas, who created the infamous “Betty White to host SNL (please?)!” Facebook page, accepting more than 85,000 members that first day and, ultimately, receiving enough publicity and “likes” to grant this Texan’s wish last year.
Because of social media, the “star” status has definitely been moved down a few notches on the ladder. Because of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, people feel like they “know” celebrities. They “talk/tweet” on a regular basis, are “friends” and get “invited” to special events.
People are getting bolder when it comes to commenting, as well. Recently, just after signer LeAnn Rimes tweeted a picture of her looking rather thin in a bikini, a fan tweeted, “Whoa, you’re scary skinny! Sorry don’t mean to offend but that’s a lot of bones showing through skin.”
Rimes quickly responded with a slight put-down, replying, “those are called abs not bones, love.”
Television has also played a huge role in people feeling like they are a part of a star’s life, maybe even some feeling a bit of entitlement because they helped “make” a star by voting for them on some reality TV show or another.
And it looks like the game isn’t over yet.
A female Marine wants in on the asking, just recently posting a reply video to Timberlake on YouTube saying, “So Justin, you want to call out my girl Mila? Well, I’m gonna call you out and ask you to come to the Marine Corps Ball with me on Nov. 12 in Washington, D.C., and if you can’t go, all I have to say is, ‘cry me a river.’ Hit me up.”
I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Timberlake is as quick to accept for himself as he was for someone else!
What do you think of the social media phenomenon? Do you think the Internet is encouraging people to hide behind the camera or keyboard instead of making real-life connections, or do you think it’s a great way to get your voice heard when it might not have been otherwise?

Leave a comment encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.