Saturday night I went to the Valley Film Festival screening of “Butterflies,” a documentary by my new pal Ester Brym about YouTube stars and the way the internet is changing fame. The film was great, really spoke to the empowering nature of the interwebs, but also humanized the people in it and didn’t pass judgment on them. By contrast, “Monster Camp” which I reviewed briefly on episode 30 of ORCCA obviously demonstrated the filmmaker’s dismissive, contemptuous opinion of the LARPing community.
At the afterparty at Senor Fred, I met with Jen Friel of TalkNerdytoMeLover.com. Jen is a creative dynamo, filled with the kind of passion and energy that electrifies the room. She created TalkNerdytoMeLover.com a year ago, and now the site has a stable of over 30 writers, gets tens of thousands of page views, and is grabbing some major attention from the powers that be. And she is going it her own way. “What we have is worth so much; we have eyes on our sites and they know they can’t buy that kind of attention.”
We spoke at length about her wonderful site and about Orcca and about the internet generation as a whole. “I don’t think people over 35 or under 24 really get it. Over 35, and you have already come of age before the internet. Under 24, and you don’t know about dial up; we had to blow into Nintendo cartridges!”
We met with Matthew Gregory from “The Matthew and Ali Variety Show,” (http://www.youtube.com/user/anthrocrane) a muppet show on YouTube. This guy’s puppets are hand made by Matthew without patterns, and are Muppet (big M) quality. He’s based in Idaho, and has made custom puppets for people like Jill “Xgobobeanx” Hanner (http://www.myspace.com/xgobobeanx) (See her with her puppet here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/xgobobeanx#p/a/u/1/L_vKEGNhbJg) and Ester Brym, director of “Butterflies.” Jen and I spoke with Matthew about the fact that what he has, like what any of us have, is a creative idea and ownership of a niche. There are people out there for whom Matthew’s show is a highlight of their day when it comes out. Similarly, when a new article goes up on TalkNerdytoMeLover.com or a new episode of OrccaCast comes out, there are a subset of people that jump for joy, who’ve been anxiously awaiting that update.
The ultimate realization of the evening is the empowerment we 20-somethings have. “This is the best time ever to be alive,” said Friel. The internet has given a platform for everyone to find their niche audience. She mentioned that there are really only like 7-9 kinds of people in the world, and the internet in a very real way is letting the people find their viewers. And there is power in that.
I have seen “The Social Network” now twice with plans to see it a third time while in theaters. If you haven’t already seen it, go. Now. It is the best movie you will see this year and maybe this decade, and it perfectly encapsulates the opportunity all of us young people have to take over the world right now. At first, watching the film I felt envy for Mark Zuckerburg, envy that I hadn’t thought of Facebook first. But now I realize that I should be thankful. I have none of his technical knowhow, but thanks to Facebook, a billion eyes go to one site practically every day. And I have free access to that site. I can post pretty much whatever I want on that site. And as such, I can find my audience from Facebook. Mark Zuckerburg, in becoming the world’s youngest billionaire, launched a site that will create a million millionaires.