This is a guest blog entry from Karin Gerber.

One would think you need to first be an actor or entertainer to have instant notoriety, but with the use of social and digital media, everyday people and even pets can become famous overnight.

Who needs a talent agency when the Internet does the trying-out for you.  Either by posting to social media or by broadcasting podcasts, people have the opportunity to end up earning money and becoming a big name.

Technology has made getting recognition easier to achieve.

In the old days, artists were at the mercy of the radio stations to know if their music would ever be played. Now with websites like SoundCloud, Vimeo, and YouTube, many different artists (famous or not famous) can publish all forms of media for the public to hear and/or see.

Take the immense fame of Justin Bieber, as an example. Love him or hate him, the truth is this – his career started all because he posted a video to YouTube.

“I put my singing videos from the competition on YouTube so that my friends and family could watch them. But it turned out that other people liked them and they started subscribing to them. That’s how my manager found me. He saw me on YouTube and contacted my family and now I’m signed!” (Justin Bieber)

Speaking of YouTube, the television show America’s Got Talent uses people’s audition footage from YouTube as part of their TV show. In other words, YouTube is used as the auditioning tool. Nothing fancy is needed, no high-cost production audition tapes, just a free YouTube account and a link to your video audition.

Digital media, such as podcasts, can also render popularity. The Adam Carolla Show podcast was listed in the Guinness World Record as the “Most Downloaded Podcast” in May 2011 with approximately 60 million unique downloads according to Forbes.

Social media can even help everyday people earn income, too. An example of this is Tardar Sauce, the Grumpy Cat™.  All it took was an uploaded photo of the cat to the social website Reddit to create a wave of followers from all different types of social media. That picture was not intentionally meant to start this huge wave of popularity but this cat touched something in people and she took on a life of her own. Tardar Sauce became an Internet phenom! Because of that exposure, Tardar’s owners are able to sell Grumpy Cat™ merchandise and donate portions of the profits to animal shelters. Oh, and Tardar herself is traveling and working with Friskies in a future commercial.

“Internet fame turned to real-life fame. Grumpy Cat has now struck a deal with Friskies: the cat will appear in a Friskies commercial soon. At SXSW, Friskies held a press event with the cat and Mashable has signed up to have her on display for the next few days for a couple of hours at a time.” (ABC News)

Not such a shabby deal considering it was all created by social media and by a cute grumpy-looking cat.

Another well-known online presence is a blind cat named Oskar. Thanks to social media, Oskar’s introductory video acquired over 4½ million views on YouTube and he has close to 110,000 Facebook followers in a relatively short period of time.  Due to Oskar’s fanbase, his owners are able to sell merchandise online at and donate portions of their profits to various charities, as well.

So, can social and digital media make you famous? Sure, it’s possible.  Granted, you might not become the next Justin Bieber or Tardar Sauce but the possibilities to increase exposure and productivity are there for anyone to grab on to. All you need is a computer and an opportunity.