Cast your mind back to school days, there was always one person who got all the attention. Whether it was the football captain or the 'most attractive' girl, they seemed to literally be the centre of attention. All the lads wanted to be like him, all the girls wanted to emulate her, and then you had the cross over of who fancied who. I bet even now you can name one of each.
How about the diligent student, the great musician, the representative on the school council - those people who may well have made a real difference. Who were they? Nope, too tough to recall and lost in time!
Roll forwards to the school reunion (I have a 30 year one coming up soon), and then see who has made the bigger impact on people's lives, and who has served only to amuse themselves for a limited timescale.
Seeking attention serves to massage the ego, to make us feel instantly better, even for a short period of time, but then, it's back to seeking more attention, more ego, and more popularity. We see this with celebrities, reality TV, Facebook likes, Facebaiting and so on, but this is not a meaningful way to truly improve your own self esteem.
Gaining respect (by respecting ourselves in the first place) is gained through following through on plans and delivering high quality thoughts. By behaving with integrity at all times, demonstrating qualities and behaviour, and realising that the attention is not the key - but being authentic is.
At that point (or at least the journey towards it) the respect you can demonstrate and receive is an ever increasing reward. Rather than being the centre of attention for a quick hit of popularity, maybe the real role models and icons are those who demonstrate and gain respect.
We have a mainstream culture which supports instant gratification, from posting on Instagram only to count your “likes”, to fishing for approval when talking to others around you.