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Where Are The Internet Stars? 28 February 2002 Edition
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This morning, as I read the news that Spike Milligan had died, it struck me that the Internet is missing something.

Thanks to his scripting and the character voices he performed in the infamous Goon Show, Milligan became one of the most popular and well-known stars of radio. During the 1950s and 60s he became a household name in the UK and throughout the various territories of the British Commonwealth.

He also became a familiar face on TV and in print during the 1960s and early 70s, thanks to other comedy shows and childrens' books in which he featured his own unique brand of zany humour.

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When you look at it, each new communications medium has created a pool of "star talent" -- people who are catapulted to stardom by virtue of the massive exposure those media give them.

The printed word, movies, radio TV -- they've all created their own "household names."

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  • NZ's very own... - Matt
  • What about "dotcom guy"... - Kane
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    So where are all the Internet superstars?

    Who has been thrust into the limelight by virtue of the Internet as a communications medium?

    Don't be tempted to dismiss the Net as not being a real entertainment medium. Fire up your web browser and you'll find examples of every genre of news, information and entertainment there is on the Net -- it's just that nobody's been able to leverage that exposure to make themselves a "media superstar."

    And, in asking this question we must be careful to distinguish between the people who make the medium and those who have been made by it.

    We've all heard of Marconi because of his implementation of ideas first mooted by Tesla, with the result that radio became a communications medium -- and we've all heard of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, etc because their companies are heavily into creating the infrastructure and key locations on the Net. Neither Marconi nor Gates however are "stars of the medium."

    So just who are stars of the Internet?

    Perhaps Dilbert?

    Given that the size of the Internet audience is reported to be anywhere from 200 million to 500 million people world-wide, isn't it just a little surprising that we don't have a group of people who have become globally recognised through their apperance on it?

    We have the Oscars, the Emmies, the Brit Awards -- all of which hand out awards to people who have become famous by virtue of their media presence -- but when you look at the Internet equivalent (The Webbies), awards are dished out to websites, not unique personalities.

    Could it be that the Net is so radically different to print, movies, radio and TV that the audience tends to be far for stratified -- thus limiting the audience for any one genre or area of interest?

    Or could it be that we're just lacking talent and creativity? Is it just the geeks who like writing clever computer code or hacking together some HTML who are attracted to show off their work on the Web? Are all the culturally and artistically creative people still preferring to work in other media?

    Maybe it's just early days. Perhaps we'll start to see people emerging from the ether to rightly claim the title of being an "Internet Celebrity"

    Perhaps I've missed the obvious and you'd like to give me a list of "Internet media stars". If that's the case, please drop me a line.

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