Unlikely Celebrities Are Stars On YouTube

"I'm not particularly good at anything," said Matt Harding, one of today's preeminent Internet stars. "I'm not exhibiting any particular skills. I like going to beautiful places and dancing badly."

Harding didn't set out to be an Internet celebrity. It just happened after he and a friend left his hometown of Seattle to travel the world.

"He said, 'Hey, you should do that stupid dance you used to do at work to annoy me and I'll record it with your camera," Harding told science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg. "And then we did and it turned out really funny."

They thought it was so funny, they posted it on YouTube, the video-sharing Web site. Apparently a lot of other people liked his global two-stepping. His video has received almost 6 million views.

"One of the really neat things about the Internet now and about entertainment on the Internet is that it's totally democratic," Harding said. "Anyone can do it. Anyone can find that thing that is really engaging to watch, and it's not up to the networks anymore — the traditional providers of entertainment for us to consume. It's up to everybody."

Read more on Sieberg's Tech Talk blog

The engaging allure of "Lonelygirl15" started out with a mystery when a girl named "Bree" began posting her video diaries on YouTube last June. She quickly picked up a devoted following.

But many wondered, who is this person calling herself "Lonelygirl15" with all this time on her hands?

As Bree's virtual life got more complicated, Internet sleuths went to Miles Beckett who helped script the whole thing.

"I think people gravitated to Lonelygirl because they saw a little bit of themselves in her character," he said.

Lonelygirl15 is actress Jessica Rose who said she never expected it to become this popular.

"Yeah, definitely, I didn't expect it to go this far," she said. "I just thought that it was something I could put on my resume. I was fresh out of acting school. So for it to get this big was just really, really lucky and exciting."

Even though the secret is out — or maybe because it is — Lonelygirl15 is lonely no more. There are now 159 episodes. Greg Goodfried is one of the creators.

"Ya know, the views across the videos — between YouTube and our Web site — we're talking over 50 million views," he said.
  • Caitlin Johnson

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