On becoming an internet quasi-lebrity

Here are a few things I learned after my opportunistic, penned-and-recorded-in-30-minutes folk tribute to Steven Slater became a mildly viral, CNN-plugged Internet sensation.

LESSON 1: If you have even the slightest notion that your video might go viral, ditch the Youtube handle you came up with when you were 15.  Also, wear something other than a massive, shapeless T-shirt.  And would it kill you to slap some makeup on?

LESSON 2: The more people who view your video, the more inane comments you will get.  Prepare to have your eyeliner (or lack thereof) discussed by complete strangers.  If your video can in any way be construed as political, prepare for some seriously sophisticated debates between “liberal cowards” and “mullet-wearing rednecks.”  Also, the Chicago Tribune will call you a teenager.

If you are a better person than me, stay off your computer entirely until it all blows over.

LESSON 3: Don’t expect to make any money.  If you have multiple videos and kajillions of people are into you, Youtube will throw you a bone by making you a “partner” and putting some ads on your page.  One mildly viral video will not accomplish this.

Side note…remember when being famous went hand in hand with being rich? Now it’s like, thousands of people have seen me play music online, however many thousands more have seen me play music on TV, and I still have no full-time job. Bad Internet.

LESSON 5: Swearing will get you more Youtube views, but keeping it clean will get you on CNN. It’s a toss-up.

LESSON 6: Timing is…wait for it…everything. So stop beating yourself up over how many awesome “Slater” rhymes you should’ve used.  If you’d waited until after band practice, five other tribute ballads would’ve taken your place.

It’s been a pretty crazy past couple of days.  If nothing else, I now have an excuse to get my ass in gear, musically speaking.  Especially now that I have my new gold Scotty Moore Epiphone to play with…think I need to make a video of that soon.

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4 responses to “On becoming an internet quasi-lebrity

  1. I don’t think it’s swearing that got me more views, I think I was linked to more places online. I think it’s an old media vs. new media thing.

    Great write up!!

  2. The curse-filled chorus was a nice selling point, though, Jonathan. But yeah, I think your established Guy Who Does Music On The Internet network was the real difference-maker there.

    I know a lot of people (and they know a lot more people) via Metafilter, which is the main reason my video-less version (what a tactical error, that; fixed now, but I think the meme has more than crested so it’s a bit late) vgot around early on as well as it did.

    There’ve been something upwards of a dozen different musical takes on this now; I’m still compiling ’em over on my music blog, and thinking I should put together a canonical Every Youtube Music Video Re: Steven Slater in the next couple days. It might be fun to do a sort of “what’s the story of you and your Slater song” thing with the various musicians, I’d be happy to dork out about it with you two especially.

    In case either of you didn’t see it, here’s yet another CNN bit that you both have cameos in.

    Anyway, congrats again Rachel on the weird who-knewness of all this, and Jonathan too.

  3. I’d be down for some kind of dork out session for sure.

  4. Hell yeah! I’d love you guys’ perspectives as slightly more seasoned topical novelty songwriters – this has always been the sort of thing I could do in my sleep, but I never bothered because I didn’t think it’d get me anywhere. Now I’m like, hmm…

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