The Internet has developed a completely new rank of celebrity, one that can shoot to super stardom within a few clicks of a computer mouse. We’re talking about the stars whose humble home videos became internet sensations.
Every day millions of people use sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to check out the latest videos and blogs. If web users like what they see, they’ll repost them online and share what they’ve found with friends. All it takes is for one of those blogs or videos to go viral and – BOOM – a new internet star is born!
Let’s take a look at some of the most successful internet sensations who found fame and fortune…
The Man with the Golden Voice
This was a true “rags to riches” story. Ted Williams, a 55 year old homeless man, was discovered for his amazing speaking voice when a video of him displaying his vocal talents hit YouTube in January 2011. Since them, Williams has been inundated with voiceover work, is off the streets and has been reunited with his family.
Justin Halpern was a semi-employed comedy writer when he created a Twitter page called ‘Sh*t My Dad Says’, in August 2009. Halpern posted hilarious update after hilarious update about things his dad said. A Friend forwarded a link to comedian Rob Corddry who re-tweeted it and that’s when interest in his tweeter feed picked up speed. A book deal with Harper Collins followed in October 2009 and soon after CBS announced that they were turning it into a sitcom with William Shatner playing Dad.
Sh*t My Dad Says now has more than 2 million followers on Twitter and is still as popular as ever.
Did you know that Justin Bieber owes his fame and fortune to some YouTube videos? Back in 2008 an unknown Canadian kid with big hopes to become a pop star started uploading videos of himself singing. It wasn’t long before he was discovered by Scooter Braun (who later became his manager) and was introduced to international R&B star Usher. Bieber was signed to Raymond Braun Media Group (an Usher and Braun venture) a small army of Beliebers were born and the rest, as they say, is history.
There is a small website you might have heard about, a tiny ripple in the social networking pool called Facebook. It hasn’t revolutionised how people communicate with each other. Some people say it’ll never take off… it’s not very popular. Anyway, it was created by Mark Zuckerberg. Yeah, we can’t imagine anyone would be interested in making a movie about his life anytime soon either.
The rise of social media
Social media is huge – it’s at our finger tips 24 hours a day – giving us instant access to our favourite stars whenever we want.
Once-upon-a-time, PR agencies carefully controlled what the public knew about their stars, but now we have bloggers like Perez Hilton dishing the dirt on their every move.
Superstars like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Charlie Sheen, Russell Brand; even Barack Obama are taking to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to connect with their adoring public – making their lives as accessible to their fans as possible.
The important thing to remember is that the public can make you – and break you. So if you do plan on using social media to rise to fame, make sure you keep using it to connect with your public to stay at the top.