We’re certainly come a long way from a culture of “permanent fame.” Leo Braudy, author of The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History, notes that pharoahs once built stone statues as “their claim on posterity.”
As recently as 20th-century Hollywood, “being famous meant your name would live forever” with handprints in cement or a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
The digital world changed all that.
“The more transient the medium, the more transient the fame,” says Leo. “When there are a lot of people making a public claim for their own importance, each gets a smaller bit.”