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What does it take to become an “internet celebrity”?

The SMH/Age Good Weekend this weekend had a covergirl of Julia Allison and a patronising, yet slightly sycophanic article about the “new breed of internet celebrity”, the Julia Allisons and Samantha Bretts of the world.

To give a quick run-down, these are girls famous for being bloggers –  exposing their private lives, relationships and other minutae of their lives to an audience of thousands or millions. I admit I do love reading traditional media’s take on the internet world. My favourite line in the article was “[Julia Allison] appears to know her stuff… She has a Facebook account, MySpace page, a Flickr, a Twitter, a Friendfeed, four Tumblrs, three MovableType blogs, two Vimeos and a Youtube”. Wow, a real force to be reckoned with. I don’t know anybody with a twitter and flickr account AND a blog.

It’s a shame that the Good Weekend didn’t include any of the intelligent, thought-provoking and inspiring “internet celebrities” in their article, they seemed pretty determined to focus on the bimbos and the overexposed to prove their point that being an internet celebrity should be derided and that bloggers are a bunch of fame-whores. They did have one line about Marieke Hardy, author of the now sadly defunct Reasons You Will Hate Me, but didn’t differentiate between her intelligent and well-informed blog about literature, politics and Bob Ellis, and the “Fameballs” such as Samantha Brett (example blog posts -“why men perve”, “do french women make better lovers”, etc etc ad nauseum).

So an open question to everyone. Can you be an “internet celebrity” without being an online Paris Hilton? Do you need to go to parties dressed in condom dresses to truly have made it in the online world?

For my money’s worth, I think women like George and Heather from Flickr are inspiring without needing to be sleazy, danah boyd is thought-provoking and intelligent, and closer to home, Cybele Malinowski truly understands the internet medium and is smart and funny without resorting to the cheap tricks of the “fameballs”. It’s a shame the Good Weekend couldn’t profile some of the more savvy intelligent women of our industry rather than going for the obvious jugular of the “celebritard”.

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