Sunday, October 28, 2007

As I posted back on the 23rd of this month, I am a member of a facebook group called "1,000,000 Strong For Stephen T. Colbert". On the morning of October 26th (right before 3:00 AM) the group hit its goal (in only 8 days) of one million members (and it still grew - as of this posting it is nearly 1.2 million members).

It was weird to be part of a forum where each time you refreshed - every single comment from the second before had vanished behind hundreds of new ones. It was even weirder to be able to follow along with some conversations (and a lot of arguments) despite the great speed at which each comment came.

It is so strange to think about these (pointless virtual) arguments and conversations and how so many of them have produced some of the most recognizable names and events on the internet (such as: Dramatic Look and The Skateboarding Dog). Creating a weird imprint on pop culture, transforming from a random moment into a cultural meme. I am not sure if you are familiar with the concept of memes (if not, you should totally read The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins) but I wonder... Will Katie Brazil become a meme?

Who is Katie Brazil? I don't know either - but for some reason she became the talk of the town (well just the talk of the message board) during the countdown to the 1,000,000 roll over. In fact, for almost a good 15 minutes hardly anyone mentioned anything else.

Here are some random screen shots cut together of some of the times she was mentioned.

You can see I even chimed in with "Colbert/Brazil '08"

Someone created a facebook group dedicated to her (which was later taken down).

Becoming "internet famous" is such a weird thing to think about. Most of the people who have become "famous" on the internet (The Star Wards Kid, Angry German Kid, and Leroy Jenkins clearly didn't intend on becoming famous for these events (and clearly didn't deserve becoming famous for them either). However, regardless of their intent - they have. Each one garnering millions of views on the internet (in each case - they have also spawned multitudes of parodies and even been included in pop culture - Star Wars Kid is hidden in a secret area in one of the Tony Hawk games). Will Katie Brazil share the same fate as the aforementioned YouTube celebs? (I suppose Stephen Colbert holds Katie's fate in his hands - I wonder if he'll mention anything about her on his show?) How many people do you suppose have become "internet famous" for literally 15 minutes? How many people have somehow caught the attention of hundreds of people on the internet only to be forgotten minutes later? It seems to me that "internet fame" is easily the worst kind of fame. But, when the internet eventually dominates all forms of media - will it be a good thing then? Will people like Chris Crocker and The Notorious B.U.M. be regarded as legends of the medium (like Charlie Chaplin with film or Clayton Moore with television)? I suppose we'll have to wait to find out.

I attempted to document the group hitting 1,000,000 but it didn't come out so well, but you can see how quickly people were joining by refreshing every second. (You can see a few Katie Brazil references in the video as well).

Can you imagine having someone come up to you and ask - "Hey, wait a minute, are you the Star Wars Kid?"


K. Michael Hall said...

is it just me or does the angry german kid remind you of thomas?