The Technology That's Made the Famous... Even More Famous
By Kipp Tribble Posted Jan 12th 2010 03:20PM
It's hard to believe that the Internet, DVDs and smartphones haven't been around forever. We can't imagine not going online several times a day to check our e-mail, Google our neighbor's name, update our status on 20+ social media sites, or spending 1/3rd of our day texting. Technology has become almost as essential to us as oxygen. And celebrities have recognized our need for it. PopEater now takes a look back at how advances in technology have helped celebrities bypass the gossip mags and gain some fame -- or increase what they already had ten times over -- and name a few spotlight grabbers that benefited from the techie stuff.
DVDs were around when the decade started, but video tape continued to dominate Blockbuster and other movie rental joints. DVD players with a five speaker system costs upwards of $700 in 2000, scaring most people away from the format. By mid-decade, however, many stores had already dropped VHS and stocked their shelves with DVDs. The switch was largely aided by the special feature sections on the discs -- from outakes, to commentary, to cast interviews, and more -- allowing viewers to now enjoy a behind-the-scenes trip of the film they just watched and getting to know the cast and crew on a more personal level. In fact, featureless DVDs never sell as well as the discs loaded with special features...even though many special features are just filler.
TV series have also seen a whole new life on DVD and thus, finding whole new audiences. Some five short years ago, only a handful of TV shows could be found burned onto discs. Now you can get series that lasted only six episodes, a series from the 1950's, or the last season of your favorite show that's still on the air. Miss the last season of 'Lost'? Pack it all in during a single unproductive weekend and be ready for the final season that starts next year. That's the handy DVD world we revel living in.
Some Celebs That Benefited: Jason Bateman ('Arrested Development'), Vince Vaughn, Tyler Perry
With the new David Fincher flick, 'The Social Network' -- lensing as this is being typed -- we will get an inside scoop on the formation of Facebook and it's uber-quick power play to take over MySpace as the top social media site in the universe. Celebs such as Dane Cook used MySpace early on to take himself from a barely-known comedian to a household name by adding hundreds of friends every week.
Tila Tequila made herself into a reality star using MySpace as a marketing tool (without a pregnancy hoax, even!). Both Facebook and it's arch rival have features such as Fan Pages that allows you to get updates on the celebrity you become a fan of and therefore they are constantly on your computer screen. And constantly growing inside your brain.
Some Celebs That Benefited: Vin Diesel, Michael Phelps, Britney Spears
Sites like these are rare and FunnyorDie almost died early on because of financial problems. Will Ferrell's most recent films haven't been raking in the kind of dough some of his earlier stuff did, but FunnyorDie has kept us all aware of his comedy genius. The site is a professionally done YouTube hybrid that is all about the comedy. It is a joint effort between Ferrell and frequent collaborator, director Adam McKay, with Judd Apatow providing commentary along the way.
Rumors of Will's waning popularity seem unfounded as videos featuring him get hits in the tens of millions. Not too shabby in our book. Other celebrities have been working on their own FOD-esque sites -- The Black Eyed Peas and Andy Samberg (The Loney Island), to name just a couple. With Celebrity blogs and webpages becomeing more and more popular, we can expect more FOD-inspired sites to start appearing in the next decade.
Some Celebs That Benefited: Zach Galifianakis,Aziz Ansari ('Parks & Recreation'), several 'SNL' cast members (past or present)
Not only can anyone post a video -- and we do mean ANYONE -- YouTube has been a great format for celebrities to post their own personal video blogs, interviews from their press kits, long lost film clips/concerts, or just random home videos (i.e., sex tapes). The uploads vary -- from Jason Schwartzman and Wes Anderson shopping in a Borders bookstore, to Jesse Metcalf getting punched on a sidewalk -- but the views they get are astounding.
As we all know, YouTube works particularlly well for those in the music world. No need to still sit through hours and hours of sad reality TV hoping MTV will accidentially show a music video...just go onto YouTube and create a playlist of all your favorite artists. Watch the videos or just listen as you lounge around the house waiting for 'Jersey Shore' to start. YouTube has given us instant access to everything we love about our celebrities and has only been around since early 2005. We can't remember what life was like without it.
Some Celebs That Benefited: Chuck Liddell, Steve-O, Paris Hilton
Otherwise know as Ashton Kutcher's personal playground, Twitter has exploded the past year and a half. Unlike some of it's social media cousins, Twitter took a few months to take off. It has been around since 2006 and started really growing by mid-2007. When celebrities started taking to the site and realized they could tweet to millions of people by spending a few seconds texting on their cell phone, the site blasted through the stratosphere.
Sure, a certain Kutcher from Iowa would still be famous without the existence of Twitter, but he also would not have been able to duel with CNN to see who could pick up the most followers without it. Twitter has given stars the ability to make a quick statement, blast other celebrities (Kayne West incident, anyone?), promote a project, or just say they are at the grocery store buying mustard. And in the 'use Twitter to become famous' department, the account Twitter.com/s***mydadsays went up in early August and had secured a book deal within two months. The pilot for the TV series on CBS is being written. Ah, Twitter. You simple tool of success.
Some Celebs That Benefited: Ashton Kutcher, Pink, Demi Moore
Gone are the days of setting your VCR to record new episodes of 'Mad About You' or whatever shows you are into these days. Now you can set your DVR to record the shows you watch -- and some you might just attempt to watch in the next few months -- over and over without having to reset it every time. Instead of missing your latest Steve Carell moment on 'The Office', it will be there waiting for you when you plop down with your grilled cheese for a late night snack.
How DVRs have assisted the celebs, is simply allowing you watch their show. If you are saddled with conflicting times in your TV watching, you would normally be forced to Sophie Choice your way to the best show -- or at least watch pieces of them between commercial breaks. A DVR takes all the guess work out of it and gives your beloved celebrities even more exposure that they want and need.
Some Celebs That Benefited: The casts of 'Rescue Me', 'Mad Men', and 'True Blood'
We know we've been at many a dinner party where a debate about a celebrity or two has reared its head. Google has now become the number one stop to settle these debates. Early in the decade, search engines would bring up basic information about the celebrity you were searching, whether it was a song lyric, video, spouse, or film credits. Google has become the giant of all search engines and provides you with page after page of sites where your subject is mentioned or slightly featured on.
We're talking hundreds of pages. You can even break it down to videos containing that celebrity -- which goes hand-in-hand with Google's $1.6 billion purchase of YouTube -- or just looking at images of your fav celeb. What would have taken hours to find in 2000 can all be on your computer screen with a few keystrokes. Taking the work out of research gives the famous peeps a boost since the public will google all day long.
Some Celebs That Benefited: Robert Pattinson, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus
Cell Phone Apps
There are like a million apps for the iPhone, Blackberry, et al, and celebrities have scored with their own apps bringing them to your cell phone 24/7. In particular, Kyte -- a web and mobile content provider -- has been at the forefront of creating apps that allow celebrities to provide subscribers with live streamed content, old clips of videos, concerts, behind-the-scenes material, tweet-esque entries, announcements, and loads of other information tidbits that said celeb may want to toss your way.
Musicians especially benefit since apps can be nabbed in the music-partial iTunes, and music videos can be watched on a long elevator ride to the 80th floor. As we enter the next decade, we can only imagine where this feature will take us. We do have digital cigarettes these days, afterall. Ah, technology. How we love thee.
Some Celebs That Benefited: Lady GaGa, Souljaboy, George Strait
- Jennifer Aniston
- Paris Hilton
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