Recognition and appreciation is dreamt of and craved by all – from the hoi polloi to the rich and famous. The hunger for those 15 minutes of fame translating into a life time of popularity is something that even the most patronizing fall victim to. Three things – webcam, internet and You Tube – have ensured that prominence is not the monopoly of the high and the mighty. Let us have a look at some people whose lives were changed by the internet. Here are the top 10 people who turned into internet sensations in recent times.
10. Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz:
It was the video of their wedding march using “Forever” by Chris Brown that suddenly put this couple on the world platform. It was a video which was viewed more than 3.5 million times in its first 48 hours. The couple gained popularity, appeared in shows and even set up a charitable trust. They were just a bunch of normal people who gained enormous fame with a video that is also regarded as 15th in Time magazine’s fifty greatest YouTube videos.
9. Antoine Dodson:
Antoine Dodson became famous due to his interview by Elizabeth Gentle, a reporter for NBC affiliate after an intruder attempted to rape his sister in her 2nd story bedroom, in Huntsville’s Lincoln Park housing projects. It was his style of speaking that caught the attention of people and the video went viral. So much was its popularity that an Auto-Tuned song by The Gregory Brothers was the result of it. He has now graduated to a singer, songwriter and actor.
8. Aziz Shavershian:
Aziz Shavershian was a Moscow born Australian bodybuilder who was commonly known by his Internet handle Zyzz. He became an internet celebrity after his videos of himself went viral in YouTube. Such was his following that he had attained a cult status among the internet fraternity. He however suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 22 whilst on holiday in Bangkok in 2011. Prior to his death he had already released his own protein label, clothing line and even a ‘Bodybuilding Bible’.
7. Amber Lee Ettinger:
She is popularly known as the ‘Obama Girl’. An internet celebrity, she is most remembered for portraying Obama Girl in the June 2007 video “I Got a Crush… on Obama”. Bloggers, media, candidates of US Presidential elections and many others noticed her in a big way catapulting her to an online sensation. In fact in 2012 (five years after the video had been uploaded) news organizations interviewed Ettinger on the topic of Obama’s re-election.
6. Felix Baumgartner:
He is the man with the world record for skydiving an estimated 39 kilometres from a helium balloon in the stratosphere reaching an estimated speed of 1357.64 km/h. He is also the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power on his decent. The live streams of his dare on YouTube made him an online sensation. He has since been the subject of documentaries and has launched his own clothing line as well.
5. Justin Bieber:
The teenage sensation was first discovered on the internet. His videos were uploaded on YouTube and had gained fame among the starry-eyed teenagers. It was during that period that he was spotted by American talent manager Scooter Braun which led to the start of Bieber’s career as singer-songwriter, musician, producer and actor. While many can contest the quality of Bieber’s music, it cannot be denied that it was through his popularity on the internet that he found the way to a charmed life as a pop musician.
4. Matt Harding:
He is the popular internet celebrity whom you would probably know as ‘Dancing Matt’. The videos of him dancing in front of landmarks across the world had earned him the nickname and recognition. Originally from Westport, Connecticut, he worked in the gaming industry as an editor and developer. His video was so popular on YouTube that one the co-founders of the video sharing site had also acknowledged it as his personal favourite.
3. Michael Arrington:
Michael Arrington has been named by Forbes as one of the most powerful people on the internet. He is the founder of TechCrunch, a blog covering the Silicon Valley technology start-up communities. He garnered immense popularity with his blog that profiles and reviews entrepreneurs. His internet reputation has also made him one of the most influential people in the world as reported by Time Magazine.
2. Perez Hilton:
Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr., is an American blogger. His blog, perezhilton.com, is known for celebrity gossips and tabloid photographs on which he adds his own captions. His blog garnered negative attention due to several controversies like those involving Miss USA 2009, Michael Jackson’s death, the Miley Cyrus upskirt picture, etc. But in spite of that he is one of the most popular internet sensations of all present times.
His video ‘Gangnam Style’ broke all records when it became the most viewed video on the internet with over one billion views. He certainly is the quintessential internet celebrity whose worldwide reach compelled the UN Secretary General to express his desire to work with him on welfare projects around the world. From merely a South Korea personality, Psy became a worldwide sensation all due to his meteoric rise on the internet.