From Facebook To Famous: Do It Yourself Stardom

  • Do-it-yourself fame is here...

    Thank the Web and ever more affordable production technologies. It is now easier, and cheaper, than ever before to become a celebrity. You don't need a big studio budget or a famous last name. Here are some big successes you've probably heard of, plus tips from an expert on how to grab your own slice of the fame pie. Photo Credit: YouTube.com/souljaboy
    Dane Cook
  • Dane Cook

    Dane! Cook! Guys, Dane Cook like will totally be here. On campus. The superstar comedian took off fast on college campuses around the country, and then with the greater American public, thanks to savvy online DIY promotion. He currently has more than 2.6 million friends on his MySpace alone. The chief of HBO, Chris Albrecht, has reportedly said this about Cook's online strategy: "Dane has used the Internet to create and maintain a unique relationship with his audience. It's a way for people to spread the word about Dane among themselves, as opposed to someone trying to advertise their way into a fan base." Rather than just hitting the local comedy show circuit as other rising comedians have done in the past, Cook made much of his content available to fans for free and rode the social media tidal wave. Photo Credit: Pvt. Alisha Nye
    Soulja Boy Tellem
  • Soulja Boy Tellem

    "You don't need a media machine to propel yourself to fame anymore; you only need the desire to be known. Connectivity has flattened the world and, for better or worse, that favors drive over pedigree. You can be a 16-year-old kid with a PC in Atlanta, making your own beats and beating your own drum, and you can end up with the #1 single in the nation," according to ARTISTdirect News. They are talking, of course, about Soulja Boy -- who took guerrilla marketing to the next level when he renamed his now famous song "Crank That" to more well-known songs (such as 50 Cent's "In Da Club") that he knew lots of people would be searching for online. The downloader would expect 50 Cent (or another musician) and get Soulja Boy's "Crank That" instead. Dishonest? Sure. But as more people heard the catchy tune, they wondered who created it -- amplifying buzz around Soulja Boy and eventually turning his single into a #1 hit nationwide. Photo Credit: Reed Kavner
    Arctic Monkeys
  • Arctic Monkeys

    Indie rock group The Arctic Monkeys reportedly rose to worldwide music fame through "fan-made demo tapes" and the boom in online file sharing services. How popular did they become? Well, their second album sold more than 225,000 copies in its first week! Photo Credit: Frida Borjeson
    Jake and Amir
  • Jake and Amir

    Online video Web series, Jake and Amir, takes place in CollegeHumor.com's New York office. The Webisodes' viral popularity eventually led to an MTV series, The CollegeHumor Show, giving the site's quirky collegiate sense of humor a much broader global audience. Funny? You decide. Photo Credit: jakeandamir.com
    Daily Kos
  • Daily Kos

    Markos Moulitsas' political blog, Daily Kos, developed a huge online following among progressive politicos. According to Quantcast, it attracts more than 1.5 million readers per month. Moulitsas has morphed his online influence into offline fame: he frequently appears on television programs such as HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher as a political pundit. Photo Credit: Neeta Lind
    Drudge Report
  • Drudge Report

    Conservative news site Drudge Report has turned its Web wizard, Matt Drudge, into something of a mythical figure among political journalists. The site is read by more than 9.3 million people monthly; to put that into proper perspective, NBC.com is viewed by about 12.1 million people each month... Pretty amazing that one writer can command that sort of digital audience. Photo Credit: idandrea
    Blair Witch Project
  • Blair Witch Project

    Hollywood's 1999 sleeper hit, The Blair Witch Project, cost only $60,000 to make and ended up bringing in $140 million. Nothing scary about that! The film's "low quality" made moviegoers perceive it as more genuine. The word of mouth buzz reached fever pitch (everyone we know saw it, at least). Photo Credit: tofslie
    Paranormal Activity
  • Paranormal Activity

    Paranormal Activity is a film hailed by some movie critics as the next Blair Witch Project. It was made for just $11,000 and was shot in only one week. Some early viewers say it is terrifying and the online buzz has stoked the flames. Moviefone reports the film is currently playing on only 33 screens nationwide, but will expand to a larger market beginning this weekend. Prepare to be frightened. Photo Credit: cupcakes2
    Paris Hilton
  • Paris Hilton

    No discussion of DIY fame would be complete without a footnote on Paris Hilton. Sure, she has a famous last name and comes from a family of wealthy hoteliers. But she's also an expert at stirring up buzz... it was a viral sex tape that made her a household name, after all. A lot of people viewed it, apparently, and distributed it over various online file sharing services. Photo Credit: Philip Nelson
    Don't waste any time...
  • Don't waste any time...

    If you want to be talked about, you can't waste any more time: Roll out your social media strategy starting today. Yves Darbouze, CEO and Digital Strategist of pLot Multimedia, suggests that fame seekers "utilize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites to connect to media and key decision makers in your industry, creating a direct and personal way to facilitate media placements, new business leads and otherwise." Just don't "connect" with us. OK, fine, we're not really that mean: you can totally connect, whenever you want. Photo Credit: rockinfree
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