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In this world there is a desire to be known by many. People will do extraordinary things to achieve recognition. The most famous people in history are usually remembered for world changing deeds, sometimes heroic, sometimes villainous. They are eternal in the history books for shifting the way we look at the world. Galileo with his discoveries in astronomy, Da Vinci and his marvelous paintings, even Hitler for his infamous cruelty—they will all be remembered forever. As we approach modern day culture people’s fame is coming at a much lesser cost. With the creation of the internet and online video, anyone can be famous for doing something unique and releasing it into cyberspace. If it gains interest they can be instant stars! Especially with the creation of large scale websites like YouTube, they can become very famous, very fast. This can be advantageous for launching a career. But the faster fame comes, the faster it leaves. These internet celebrities can be hot and cold so fast that they are unable to truly appreciate or take advantage of their situation. They can be left in the dust as a new flavour of the month takes over, leaving them dealing with the negative side effects. As Oprah once said “If you come to fame not understanding who you are, it will define who you are.”

Before YouTube was created, there was very little technology available to post videos and video clips online. Not only were the methods simple, but they were not very popular. Since 2005, when YouTube was officially established, the world of surfing the net has changed. YouTube and other video posting sites make it possible, and in many cases simple, for any person, virtually anywhere, to post video clips on the internet that reach millions of people within minutes. The types of clips range depending on what an individual wants to communicate to the world, whether it is expressing one's feelings, doing something funny or stupid, or displaying unique individual talents, you name it and YouTube will have it. Due to this instant connection to people around the world, YouTube has also allowed the everyday average Joe to achieve their proverbial "fifteen minutes of fame".

This is the concept of “viral videos”, which has severely altered the core of media and visual entertainment. Originally, a funny video would be posted on a single website. From there, as it gained attention through word of mouth, it would be posted on other humour websites and spread through the web like a “virus” (without harming peoples computers). This would garner large amounts of attention for the stars of the video as popularity grows, however, it would reach a relatively smaller audience because it would be restricted to humour websites. Since the creation of YouTube, this process has gone through intense acceleration. YouTube is by far the largest of video websites, which is accessed by a phenomenally large audience. This allows for faster exposure for viral videos and increased fame, whether that fame is wanted or not.

Issue and Technology

Technology- Youtube and the Internet

Issue- How internet sites such as Youtube open up the door for people to become famous overnight and how the exposure affects people around the world.


Youtube’s ease of use, and growing popularity among internet users, has led to the creation of a virtual “world stage” on which people can express themselves in new and creative ways. It is used by many different people for a wide variety of reasons, from sharing videos with friends to addressing the entire American electorate. There is virtually no limit on the possible uses for Youtube, and there continues to be new and groundbreaking ideas that are presented on the site every day. The real genius of Youtube is that its creators do not actually do anything other than maintain the site. The content is completely user generated, and if users cannot find a video that they wish to view, they will often find and post or create it themselves. Youtube offers an easy way for people to share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with the world, have found enormous success as a medium of exchange.

Some of the videos, based on the massive audience, are inevitably going to become popular, sometimes wildly so. This popularity is further promoted and propagated by the site’s display of videos that are currently being watched by other users, promoted videos, and featured videos that are particularly popular at that given time. This leads to a cycle in which videos that are gaining popularity will experience even more exposure, and thus get an ever increasing amount of views. In addition, some of these videos are also embedded in other sites, sometimes as the focus for an entire webpage.

The people in these videos, sometimes without knowing it, can become overnight celebrities, but often with no material compensation for their efforts. In many cases this newfound fame is sought after, desired, and enjoyed. It has even led, rarely, to lucrative contracts for popular potential actors/actresses, bloggers, and musicians. There have also been some enterprising entrepreneurs who have used the site to promote products and services in a free and far reaching manner. But in other cases, the exposure has markedly negative consequences, leading to major inconveniences for some individuals, and even damaging the lives of some individuals to the point where they require psychiatric help. We will examine the history of Youtube, some advantages and disadvantages of the video posting site, and a few popular examples of people who have used it to achieve internet fame.

What is Youtube?



Created in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees, Youtube has taken the internet to a whole new level. In only two short years, Steven Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim turned their simple idea into the fourth most visited website in the world. Youtube is a video-sharing forum where users can view, upload and share videos with the rest of the world through internet blog sites, websites, mobile devices, and email. This concept brings users together to form an online community, by allowing users to comment and rate videos, that provides entertainment for many people as well as information about certain issues or events.

In July 2006, less than a year after it was launched, the company recorded that more than 100 million videos were being watched each day, and over 65,000 videos were being uploaded onto the website. Due to the amount of potential that the website had to become something huge, Google Inc. put forth an offer to buy the company for US$1.65 billion dollars, even though YouTube was not making any profits at the time. On November 13, 2006, Google Inc. were the official stockholders of YouTube and Steven Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim were officially billionaires. The large purchase paid off as two years later, in January 2008, nearly 79 million users had made over 3 billion video views. It is clear from the growing statistics that YouTube has become an online phenomenon. Today, Youtube is ranked 10 in the top 20 websites viewed according to Hitwise US, competing with some sites such as Facebook and


Easy as 1, 2, 3


There are various advantages that have led to the popularity of Youtube. One of the main ones is the simple, straightforward instructions and procedures for posting videos on Youtube. This allows people who are not as technologically able, and who might have been hesitant to post videos based on the difficulty of doing so, to get their videos onto the internet.

Also, the advances in the technology of recording devices, from cameras to cell phones, has allowed for a much greater freedom in recording videos, and made it much more popular to do so than was the case before.

Potential for Fame


Youtube gives individuals the opportunity to show millions of other users skits, video blogs, and instructive videos, among other things. This massive audience means that some videos are viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and their creators often become overnight internet celebrites. This is a major draw for many people who otherwise would have never had an opportunity for global recognition.

Also, Youtube, along with other video posting sites, has become a great social-networking website for users. People can easily find others with similar interests and communicate with them, as well as watching their videos. Also, Youtube makes it possible for these people to formalize their friendships with just a click.

Some of the more well known internet celebrities include Lonelygirl, the Star Wars Kid, and Tila Tequila. There are dozens of others like these who have found instant Internet celebrity by dancing, singing, mixing Mentos with Coke, posting odd video resumes, and in any number of other creative ways. That is part of the YouTube phenomenon. It's simplicity, global reach and it's youthful demographics are driving and changing!

Wide Variety of Videos


Another reason for Youtube's quick rise to prominence is the incredible variety in the movies that individuals post. From amateur daredevils to dance instructors the people who post these videos are as varied as the content. This usually means that in the massive audience that visits Youtube every day, one will find at least a few like minded people who will search for even the most obscure and seemingly irrelevant movies.


Disclosure of Privacy


Although Youtube is known for its allowance of varying content in posted videos, it may pose as a disadvantage, since users are unaware of who is watching their videos. Users are encouraged to use personal judgment and take into consideration the amount of information they disclose about themself in videos. The use of caution is highly recommended to avoid coming into contact with online predators who may be viewing one's video.

Copyright Infringement

One of the disadvantages that YouTube will face will be dealing with copyright laws. The freewheeling approach that has made YouTube a hit could be its downfall. Users have been posting videos that are still under copyright, without any of the required legal approvals. These include clips from the Olympics, prime-time news shows, episodes of Entourage or Desperate Housewives, and music videos. Needless to say, this doesn't sit well with the major media companies. NBC, CBS, and others have requested that YouTube remove clips taken from them.

Overall the music industry has been hit hard by the creation of YouTube. It is possible to search up essentially any song you can think of and have more than one copy streaming over the internet for you to listen to free of charge. This may seem as a good way to promote artists and increase album sales, which has happened with the band Ok Go and their famous treadmill music video. However, it can also be detrimental to artists who haven’t released their latest album. When songs get “leaked” and end up on YouTube, they can reach an enormous amount of people. Just ask Chris brown who had an unfinished version of a song called “electric guitar” leaked earlier this year. The public is exposed to an unfinished, unpolished product and the artist can do nothing to remedy the situation. This and release of intellectual property without permission is very unjust to the artists.

Negative Internet Celebrity before YouTube


In 1989, a 10 year old boy named Craig Shergold was hospitalized with a brain tumor. His doctor noted the abundance of get-well cards strung up above his hospital bed, and suggested he go for the Guiness Book of Records. A family friend contacted local companies and newspapers to get the campaign rolling. Within months, over a million cards had been received. At some point, the campaign started spreading by email and cards began to pour in by the ton, year after year. Even though Craig was cured in 1991 and his family made public appeals for the cards to stop, their pleas were no match for the power and longevity of the email chain letter. Over the next 15 years, over a hundred million cards were received from well-wishers who believed they were helping to grant the wish of a dying child. In reality, they were filling the recycle bins in and around Carshallton, Surrey, UK. The Craig Shergold chain letter morphed and spawned a wave of "sick child" emails that have caused untold grief to other families who were the targets of pranksters, as well as financial harm to charities such as the Make A Wish Foundation.


There are many people who have used the internet to gain recognition and fame. Some of the most popular individuals can be found in these "top internet celebrities" lists:

Some of these people have enjoyed their newfound fame and exposure, occasionally even using it to make a career, and earn lots of money, but there have been others who have been very negatively affected. We have chosen some of the most prominent positive and negative examples.

Positive Examples


Touted as one of the most successful web based shows to date, Lonelygirl15 is a prime example of how YouTube has opened up a whole new era of visual entertainment. Real life actress Jessica Rose, pretended to be a homeschooled blogger named Bree just interested in posting her life story including drama and issues for the world to see. Through charismatic performances and regular updates she garnered support from thousands of subscribers. Eventually she was unmasked as an actress by suspicious fans in September 2006. Despite anger from fans regarding her deception, success is not over for “Bree” and her creator Mesh Flinders. They have been lured away from YouTube with a lucrative contract from video site “Revver”. Flinders has been touring around being interviews on major networks such as MTV, CNN, and NBC as well as working out a deal with a top Hollywood talent agency. That is quite the success story for someone who used to live in his grandmothers basement.

                                                    Barrack Obama Using Youtube

Barrack Obama, recent President-elect of the United States, is turning to Youtube to release his weekly Democratic address to the world. This is a new and modern change for the White House since Obama proclaimed that "no President-elect or President has ever turned the radio address into a multi-media opportunity before." Making his weekly address from the White House through videos will be an excellent way of getting the public involved, considering the statistic of the 100 million videos viewed per day on Youtube. Obama also stated that he wanted to conduct "21st century fireside chats" via streaming video, where he could take questions online from the public. His first broadcast, posted on November 15, 2008, (not even a week old) already has over 700 thousand views. A link to these videos can be found at, Obama's website.

                                                            Perez Hilton

Donned the "Queen of all media", Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr. is an American blogger and television personality. Becoming famous on YouTube and one of the posterboys for internet celebrity, he created a blog on his website, which he writes under the pseudonym Perez Hilton. On his website, which was named "Hollywood's most hated website" by The Insider, Lavandeira posts gossip items about musicians, actors and celebrities. He often posts tabloid photographs over which he has added his own captions or "doodles." His blog has garnered both positive and negative attention for its brash attitude, its active "outing" of alleged closeted homosexual celebrities and for its role in the increasing coverage of celebrities in all forms of media. which was created by Mario in 2005 now recieves about 7 million hits per day.

                                                           Judson Laipply   


Encouraged by some of his students to make a dance video so that they could study it for a routine they were making, 30 year old teacher and "inspirational comedian" Judson Laipply came up with the six minute long "Evolution of Dance". This video featured 20 songs from Elvis to Eminem, all with humorous accompanying dance moves. The clip was posted on Youtube, and recieved 16 million views in just over two months. The video's incredible popularity quickly vaulted it to the top video on Youtube, a title which it has since given up to Avril Lavigne's music video "Girlfriend". Still, the amateur dance video has, to date, recieved over 105,000,000 views, and over 250,000 text comments. It is also the most 'favorited' video on the site.

Negative Examples

                                                         Star Wars Kid
Star Wars Kid.jpg

Ghyslain Raza, the true identity of the star wars kid, had an entirely different experience. After making a funny video of himself pretending to be a star wars character (complete with sound effects), it was distributed online as a prank by some fellow schoolmates. What started out as a simple prank escalated into a full on case of internet bullying. He was an instant celebrity and everywhere he went Raza faced teasing and heckling. One website where the video was posted reportedly reached one million downloads within one month. Raza had become a world-wide phenomenon. However the constant teasing caused him to be diagnosed with a severe case of depression. He could no longer attend school and would get called out in public with unwanted attention. This eventually led to a lawsuit against the other students involved. A settlement was eventually reached but detains are undisclosed.

                                                        Police Brutality

YouTube can again post videos that you never think will be posted. In 2006, a video was anonymously posted on YouTube that showed the arrest of alleged gang member William Cardenas. However, what was different about this arrest was that the video also shows police holding Cardenas down and beating him up before his arrest. The posting of this video triggered a police-brutality investigation by the FBI. Due to the simple uploading techniques that YouTube uses, this video was able to be posted within minutes from a cell phone. Since it is one of the most popular websites around, the video was watched my millions of people.


The amazing explosion of popularity of Youtube and other video uploading sites over the last few years has had many varied results which are sometimes tough to anticipate or respond to. There have been a multitude of individuals who have gained fame and prestige but there have also been cases where this exposure has had very negative consequences. Whether one supports the free sharing of videos over the internet or not, however, it is undeniable that it has revolutionized the way that people access information, and allowed many individuals to express their views and talents to an audience of sizes never previously thought possible.


Brett Borle:;f=103;t=000567;p=1

Ayzer Cruz:

Kelly Frittenburg:

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