By, Venissa Ledesma
He became an internet sensation overnight. Users could not log on to Twitter without seeing the “#AlexfromTarget” tag littering their timelines. Who was this boy? What did he do to garner such a reaction from people all over Twitter? There were posts from teenagers fawning all over this boy who seemingly popped out of nowhere. After a while, it became obvious he was getting so much attention solely based on the fact that he was attractive. It was quite aggravating and I found myself agreeing with the posts that took on a more negative side, pointing out that all he did was bag groceries.
For those not aware of this new Internet sensation, a picture was secretly taken of a 16 year-old boy bagging groceries at a Target in Texas. Thus, the hashtag was born and it flooded people’s’ timelines. The hashtag began trending and shortly after, memes were created further fueling his popularity. It is perplexing that an individual so ordinary could gain such attention in so little time and for something so vain.
Alex was also on Ellen and from there gained more fame but also more hate. Not only was an average boy from Texas gaining thousands of Twitter followers per hour, but unwarranted hate merely because someone took a photo of him.
Whether it was jealousy or annoyance that led to this uproar, it was completely unnecessary. How do people find so much time to spread negativity about someone they do not even know? Alex’s whereabouts in no way affects the lives of others but our generation constantly gives attention to things that do not deserve it. These negative comments accumulate and have a ripple effect and then reflect badly on our entire generation.
It is not about the boy and whether or not he really is attractive, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what he represents. I do not personally know Alex and I probably never will, he was simply doing his job and fell victim to the power of the teenage girl. His sudden, unnecessary fame just draws attention to our generation’s obsession with superficiality. . We have so much power at our fingertips and we do not even realize the positive impacts we could be making. Instead of using it to make real change, we use it to share “starter packs,” complain, and post other superficial things.
We let meaningless, mundane thoughts fill our timelines and our lives. When adults criticize today’s youth, I want to come to defense. With our technology, we helped locate and return missing people to their homes. We helped raise money for charity through tireless campaigning and advertising. We even started revolutions like KONY 2012, using our greatest asset, social media accounts. But the meaningless and unimportant trends tend to outweigh the way we productively use social media.
The Alex from Target hysteria is among the many meaningless phenomenons that gained attention due to excessive social media use. What happened to the days when people had meaningful conversations about books and philosophy? Have we really turned so superficial that we waste our time hating and fawning over people we don’t know?