Jeremy Wagstaff writes about Secrets of Internet Fame by raising the question -Is being famous on the Internet the same as being famous in the offline world?
A new Web site called Preople.com allows people to compare online fame.Being well-known online isn't exactly the same thing as being well-known offline. The best test is this: Spears, Houston, Depp, Beckham, Blair. It's likely you've heard of most of these people, and could give them their right first names. But how about Ito, Scoble, Doctorow, Kottke, Rubel? Heard of any of them?
The blogging A-list of people who are famous online. Not as famous as Britney, Whitney, Johnny, David and Tony, but famous. Joi Ito, for example, is a Japanese entrepreneur who gets as many hits on Google as his prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi. Compare the two names in Factiva, a database of mostly offline media , there's no contest. Doing a search across all dates, the Japanese prime minister gets more than 750 times as many mentions as Mr. Ito. Another example: Robert Scoble gets mentioned about 150 times less than Mr. Ballmer on Factiva. Online, it's a different story: Mr. Scoble is ahead, scoring 651,000 against Mr. Ballmer's 599,000.
Clearly there's a disconnect between the big names online and those offline. The Internet, it seems, is much more effective than the offline world at propelling people to limited fame; to being famous in certain circles. As Alex Halavais, a blogger and assistant professor of informatics at the University of Buffalo, puts it: "The Internet makes those circles much easier to draw." The explosion of blogs - online journals, short for web logs - has speeded up this process. Now anyone with expertise in a subject, from knitting to online gaming, can gain respect and influence by writing about it online. This is different from how one might gain influence or fame offline.One thought is that as the Internet becomes more ubiquitous - via wireless connections and mobile phones - on "cyberspace" as an idea will start to die. Then the gap between prominence online and offline will start to fade away.
Category : Internet