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You too can be a star!

September 14, 2009

LEROY JENKINS. Charlie bit my finger. Blood. The Star Wars kid.

If the preceding list of names, words and phrases conjures up memories of laughing uncontrollably while sitting in front of a computer, then chances are, you've been to Youtube.

That's the benefit of the internet and the world of viral video.

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VIDEO WEBSITES can make people instant “star” when coupled with an outrageous film clip. Those on sites like YouTube can also watch real stars like comedian Ron White, above.

Anyone with a camera and a computer can become a star. And one's fame can last long after their 15 minutes are up, simply by uploading a video for all to see.

That's not to say the top video-sharing website is limited to people knowingly, or unknowingly making complete fools of themselves for laughs and notoriety.

Youtube offers a plethora of content to satisfy even the most discerning tastes.

But what it's known for is its amateur content.

Take the name Leeroy Jenkins.

A group of players were about to undertake a particularly difficult part of the online multiplayer game World of Warcarft.

They were planning there attack and waiting for Mr. Jenkins to return to his keyboard when Jenkins all of a sudden yells his name and charges into the room, botching the whole attack which obviously took much planning.

The video was quickly posted and Leeroy became a household name for an act of apparent stupidity.

Whether or not the event was staged is up for debate, but it's now possible to be accused of "pulling a Leeroy Jenkins." It's synonymous with an act of stupidity.

The video became such a hit that the name Leeroy Jenkins was part of a answer on the television game show Jeopardy.

Another feature that lets someone know they have reached Youtube stardom is when their video is morphed or is digitally enhanced to add further humor and embarrassment.

Take the Star Wars Kid for example.

A adolescent, somewhat overweight boy from Canada filmed himself fighting an imaginary lightsaber battle while utilizing a golf-ball retriever as weapon of choice.

Shortly thereafter, a video entitled "Star Wars Episode III: Drunken Jedi Master" finds its way online, depicting the same kid but digitally adding an actual lightsaber and Star Wars-esque blaster sound effects. The drunken part came from the young man's stumbling around during the video and the updated version only enhances the video.

Then the various takes on the video began to snowball: Star Wars Kid vs. Yoda, Star Wars Kid vs. his clone and even Comedy Central comedian and talk-show host Stephen Colbert had himself digitally inserted into a video with the Star Wars Kid to depict a battle between the two. That's just how much a one video can take off.

Those are just two of the more well-known examples of the multitude of videos to be viewed on Youtube. But as I previously stated, Youtube just isn't about amateur content.

You can find pretty much anything you're looking for.

To live versions of concerts, music videos, tv and movie clips, it's all out there for you to view.

One of my favorite things to do to pass the time is look up some of my favorite comedians and catch a few laughs, guys like Ron White, Lewis Black, Carlos Mencia.

Another great aspect of Youtube is the number of people who make videos that assist viewers in learning new things, like, how to play the guitar or bagpipes, or even just how to play a certain song. The how-to videos are endless.

You also have people who are really talented musicians, and some who are not, who either play popular songs or penned original for all to see and comment on.

And comment people will. That's the one positive/negative about Youtube. No one is safe from ridicule. For every positive post about a video, there are twice as many negative ones. Usually they are done in jest. Some are not.

That's the price of internet fame. Anonymous people can post pretty much anything they want about your video, leaving you at the mercy of public opinion. Truly hurtful or derogatory comments are removed, but the rest are left for all to see.

Apparently it's worth it, because Youtube receives upwards of more than 65,000 videos per day. A lot fade into obscurity, but more than a few make the rounds of the internet. And then there are the truly unique, humorous or downright sad videos that obtain legendary status.

So if you've never had the opportunity to partake in the phenomenon that is Youtube, take a few minutes, do some searching and see if you don't find yourself in a hysterical fit of laughter.

If nothing more, it will brighten your day.



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