Conan O'Brien Will Change Your World... Whoever You Are

Monday, March 8, 2010

Conan O'Brien, the ousted host of the Tonight Show, made waves on March 5 when he began following one person on Twitter.

Until that moment, O'Brien was not following anyone on the popular social networking site. He announced his decision to change one woman's life in a tweet to his 579,338 followers.

This woman, Sarah Killen, lives in Michigan and likes gummy dinosaurs and cantaloupe. Initially, she only had three followers, but just hours after O'Brien's post, they increased to 3,750. That was only two days ago, and now Killen's follower count is 16,419.

Killen is taking advantage of her newfound fame. Her tweets have increased exponentially, and she is endorsing people and products that she likes. Killen posted a link to a 3-day for the cure website, and between 9:46 p.m. and 11:58 p.m. on March 5, $970 was donated by her followers. At press time, Killen has raised $2,580 for breast cancer research.
In our age of social media and instant access to information, fame is available to everyone.
One person with a modicum amount of fame is able to bequeath a small portion of his fame to another. This person, previously unknown, suddenly has power and influence. Climbing the social ladder is amazingly simple in the digital age.

We used to discuss a person's "fifteen minutes of fame," but with the availability of information, fame can last infinitely longer.

A YouTube video called Shoes was released in 2007. It became a pop culture staple at our college, referenced by everyone and recognized by everyone. A few weeks ago, my 15 year old little sister told me that there was a new YouTube video I just HAD to see. She and her friends were circulating the exact same video I'd seen years before, but to them, it was new and exciting.

Killen's time in the limelight may fade and never be unearthed again, but there is another possibility. What Killen does with her fifteen minutes now will influence whether she impacts the future. O'Brien changed her world; now, let's see if she changes ours.


Ryan Fuerstenau March 8, 2010 at 11:14 AM  

What O'Brien did whether intentional or not has helped a lot of people. Through funding given to her by her new followers on Twitter and simply word of type. I also really like what she did with her time in the limelight. She used it to try and help others instead of herself. There is something here that we can all learn from.

Hanna Russmann March 9, 2010 at 8:56 AM  

I agree with Ryan. A lot of people in the same position probably would have just thought about how they could make themselves more popular. It was nice to read about how she just used it as a way to help her favorite causes. If only that's what everyone did in their fifteen minutes of fame, I think the world would be a lot better place.

Julia Robinson March 9, 2010 at 11:08 AM  

This post was awesome. I loved the story about what O'Brien did for this woman, and how you related it to social media today and how "fame is available to everyone."

Also, I liked your personal reference to the Youtube video your little sister told you about. I have had similar experiences with my younger brother, so I can relate. It will be interesting to see if we hear of this woman in our futures.

Katelyn Chamberlin March 9, 2010 at 11:11 AM  

First of all, great job captivating the audience's attention with your headline and picture of O'Brien front and center.

I loved reading this post because O'Brien's tweet had been retweeted by people I'm following many times. I followed up on it and checked out her Twitter profile. I couldn't find anything to distinguish her from an ordinary girl.

However that has now changed. Thanks to O'Brien's spur of the moment decision and Sarah Killen's wish to help others, she is no longer just an ordinary girl. She was given the chance to make a difference and she ran with it.

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