Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Internet Fame (not the real kind)

What a kind and mysterious thing this is; this interconnected web of networks. Previously, I have expounded on it's wonderous ability to bring people together and The ease of finding quality information, and today, I will investigate another interesting phenomenon- that of Internet Fame.

Internet Fame, like Internet Relationships, Internet Personas, and the value of Google, doesn't really exist. At least, it doesn't exist in the world that has the whole air, mass and physics thing. If I was to walk up to my parents and try to explain this hilarious "This Land" parody song featuring Bush and Kerry, they would stare each other, then at me and back away slowly. Even if I told them about the part where Bush is in a waffle house. That was rich comedy.

Another endearing feature of Internet Fame is that it's very fleeting. By the time the normal Internet user discovered "All your Base", the elite uber-users (because "uber-user" sounds much cooler than "person who lives in basement") had moved on to the next thing. When Howard Stern recently played the "Whistle tip" audio clip on his show, he might as well have donned a fedora hat and broadcast news that the Nazis were invading Poland.

The Internet moves fast, and it's mostly due to the tiny gnomes that carry around the information in the tiny pipe that comes out of your computer: at least, that's what my extensive background in computer science has led me to determine. That's why it was nearly called the InterGnome, or GnomeNet, or the immensely less popular BunchOStuffButMostlyPornNet (BOSBMPN for short, which can be pronounced by jamming the thumb and ring finger of your right hand down your throat). Regardless, the speed can take some people by surprise. By the time they realize they're the Next Big Thing, and preparing to cash in on their success, everyone has moved on to some video of something else: a horse boxing a hobo, for an example. Then all that's left is a sad, sad man holding a box full of shirts that say "OMG WTF" or whatever the hell he became popular for. When the mainstream media gets a hold of the story and presents it like it's "fresh" and "original" (much like using quotes to indicate sarcasm), there might be a slight aftershock of hits, but after that, it's pretty much the cold and yawning gap of oblivion. So there's that.

Internet Fame wouldn't be much without a lettering grade for celebrity status, in a cute imitation of real life. You have your "A" list celebrities, such as the two gents over at the gaming comic Penny Arcade, who have successfully managed to convince people that they're not as hideous as you would imagine two geeks running a webcomic about video games to be. It's sad when people claim to look good just because the Internet can magically obfuscate their real appearance (Note: I still look like a young Harrison Ford. Really.) I would guess that any of the Star Trek actors probably fall into this category as well. Anyone who is a quasi-celebrity in the real world is instantly an "A" list Internet Celebrity, as is anyone who has staved off the inevitable disinterest 0f the web-browsing public.

Next you would have your "B" level celebrities. These would be people who achieved noteriety for constructing a Tron costume, for example. Although he might have touched upon the vaunted "A" status, this is where his home in the history of the Internet is for the moment. Others who partially cashed in on their success, such as the JibJab guys also are here.

As we descend into the circles of celebrity, we reach the "C" level stars. It's here that the "has-beens" live. All Your Base, Bubb Rubb; even more vile entries such as Goatse (please do not search for this)- all are here. Mostly used with the prefix, "Hey, do you remember", but not often. It's best to let these forever lie dormant here.

At the bottom of our list are the "D" list celebrities. These are the "never-beens" live. Countless bloggers, livejournalers, myspacers, Friendsterers and God knows what else are here. I would include myself into this category, but only as a compliment to myself, to boost my spirits about actually being a level "Q" celebrity. We are the great unwashed masses of the Internet, perhaps not seeking acclaim, but possibly becoming the darling of the Internet for a brief and shining moment. Then we're returned to our normal positions in the dregs. Delicious, delicious dregs.

Is this a vilification of the Internet? Not at all- it's the beauty of it. It reminds us all that we are all stars, that we are all dregs. Even the most well-known Internet famous know that it is a slippery and quick slope into the nether regions. And just as quickly is the rise from relative anonymity. Do we seek it? Sometimes. Do we deserve it? Possibly, especially if it involves pirates. Keeping perspective is the key, though. It's not the real world, just the InterGnome.


At 5:05 AM, Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Well written post, Mahd :).

If fame is so short-lived, there must be one reason to it: we bloggers are so fickle!

At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Jay Maynard said...

Crossing the barrier from Internet fame to real-world fame is much more difficult than crossing it in the other direction. That's because the Internet is a reflection and a comment on real life, not the other way around (yet!). I don't know of many other folks who have even managed to go from fame on the net to fame in the "real" world to any extent at all.

At some point, the Internet will become as much a place to achieve "real" world fame as radio, TV, and movies have. All of those were once minor, niche arenas, too.

At 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Checked out your blog it's great!

I have a Ceiling Fan Light Fixture site/blog. It pretty much covers Ceiling Fan Light Fixture related stuff.

Come and see it some time.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger chica bonita said...

i've just made a search on goatse at wikipedia.org. interesting. actually not.

internet fame sometimes opens door for bloggers. ex-boyfriend is now a casual columnist for a magazine after his blog became well known. some local newspapers even bought his articles from the blog. yes, the rich always get richer for some reasons. one of my girlfriends reckoned he deserves it coz he works hard for it but i reckon it was because he fits in the society that people love his blog. in other words, he writes what people enjoy reading. he's a totally different person in real life.

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Mahd said...

ChickyBabe, You're the most famous blogger I know! And all indications are that it will stay that way.

Jay, It's awesome that you came here. Personally, I think the suit is cool.

Anonymous, How did you know that I have a singular love affair with ceiling fans?

chica bonita, Goatse is awful- I wish I could erase my memory of it. Your other comments remind me of a great Twain quote (as most does): "Some literature is like wine; mine is water. Everyone drinks water." It sounds like he appeals to people.


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