Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Frontiers for our Celebrity Obsessed Culture

Two years back or so I remember seeing some statistic where more than 2/3 of respondents said they would rather be an assistant to a celebrity than a US Senator. I think this really says a lot about loneliness in our society and many people's complete lack of meaningful connections with other people in their everyday lives (along with a complete lack of meaningful connections with intelligent ideas).

Everyone already knows about American's deep obsession with fame. Within the last couple of years, however, a new form of celebrity has emerged - The Internet Celebrity. Crossing over on to the cover of WIRED, or showing up on the Today Show are meat-space nobodies who have what it takes to be cyber-space somebodies.

You may have seen them pop-up every now and then - David Elsewhere, Philip Chbeeb, lonelygirl15. Marina Orlova, the Hot For Words woman, has taken it to a new level. If you have not seen her, she is the hands down favorite of every word-nerd. She has all the bases covered - her own youtube channel, facebook page, twitter following - and her own ecommerce site - all centering around her brief entymological explanations on the most mundane words. She has used her web-based platform to get on the Today show, the O'Reilly factor and several others - and now it is a career for her. What is that career? Selling herself as a brand through her web content (i.e., advertising) and her product (i.e., pin-up calendar).

The concept of web celebrities as a a concept is even crossing over to the mainstream (e.g., Weezer's "Pork & Beans" video at the top of this entry) and the phenomenon is now feeding on itself. Facebook's video posting application has allowed for the faster spread of viral videos and of course allows for shameless self promotion.

Speaking of self promotion... I know I have some guilty pleasure when people comment on my blog and I've just added subscription and "following" links. Part of the enjoyment of writing for me is knowing that people read it and find it interesting. So yes... I have been shamelessly promoting my blog on my facebook page. Will I ever become a web celeb? Probably not. But I'll still keep experimenting with ways to increase my web profile. Why? I guess it's like the lottery, you gotta be in it to win it.

Celebrity Obsession = Garbage
Web Celebs = It is a guilty pleasure, but I have to admit I like it.

You stay classy San Diego.

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