Of course, we all knew that, but it's a different thing entirely to listen to someone who's directly experienced it. Older guys like Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and the late, great George Carlin were household names before most houses were online, while someone like Dane Cook wisely took advantage of MySpace to achieve the success he's experiencing today. Young comedian Bo Burnham practically fell into fame when his stuff was uploaded to YouTube.
For professionals in any area, and that includes us lowly freelance writers, it's easier than ever to make a name for yourself. Sure, the playing field is more packed than it ever has been, but as long as what you're offering is unique, you'll come through.
It's hard to believe, but there are still people out there who crack jokes about Twitter being the place where you post what you had for lunch. The 140-character microblogging service has seen a huge influx of celebrities over the past few years and more than a few people have actually become celebrities because of the service. 140 characters only amounts to a couple of sentences, so people can easily read dozens if not hundreds of tweets a day. If you're clever enough to stand out, Twitter can be the easiest place to gain some much-desired attention.
I could've lumped Facebook and Twitter under one "social media" header, but the truth is that Twitter and Facebook are two totally different beasts. On Twitter, you're going to have more eyes on you, because it's simply easier to follow a lot more people on Twitter. On Facebook, however, not only can you post more substantial content, but your followers can interact with each other as well as you, and if your followers bond on their own, they're doing a lot of the work for you. Don't choose between Facebook or Twitter, but use both in conjunction. There are plenty of services that will link the two sites for you.
If you're a writer of any sort, you need to have a blog. For any other professional, some sort of web-based portfolio is equally a must. When building a website, you have a few different options. You can do it yourself, which isn't as daunting as you would think, but some people just don't have the time. Websites like Square Space will do all the heavy lifting for you for a fee, or you could hunt down a designer yourself, which shouldn't be difficult. Finding a suitable service for your web hosting, virtual private servers and data center needs should be a breeze, as you can't throw a rock these days without hitting a Dreamhost or a Go Daddy.
The Big Three
If you want to get your name out there, you need to be using the Internet, and you need to be using the big three. Facebook, Twitter, and a personal website will help you cast a wide net. There are other sites that you should be utilizing if it fits your content. YouTube is a must for anything video-related. If you're a musician, check out Sound Cloud. Now go forth and conquer.