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Money For Nothin’

By Gerald McGrew on May 11, 2011 in Other

A chunky school kid grabs a broomstick and swings it wildly in front of a camera that he was unaware was recording. The Star Wars Kid is born. A three year-old is bitten on the finger by his baby brother Charlie and the video of it is watched over 300 million times on YouTube. Teenager Rebecca Black warbles about Fridays and is globally slammed for having written the worst song of all time (Justin Bieber haters are in stunned disbelief).

Since the advent of the Internet there have been thousands of examples of complete unknowns around the world getting their 15 minutes of fame. These memes fade quickly, and we all wait for the next quirky story, picture or video to hit our inboxes or appear at the tail end of the National Nine News. This cycle repeats every day, and we love it.

While more conventional fame not only guarantees the paparazzo staking out your house – even if you’re Warnie – it generally also includes money. Does this also apply to these fleeting stars that are thrown up (pun intended) by the Internet? Can your embarrassing video go viral and actually pay some bills along the way?

There are some notable examples of this occurring. Shit My Dad Says started as the simple Twitter feed of a guy living with his father. “He is awesome. I just write down shit that he says” was his promise, and indeed he did. Over time he generated millions of followers on Twitter and the TV networks came knocking. The rest is history. William Shatner plays the father, and unfortunately the idea went from being a great read to another crap sitcom. Was money made? Undoubtedly. Was his Dad impressed? Go to Twitter and have a read yourself. I suspect he still thinks his son is a total dud.

Charlie is the snotty baby who latched onto his big brother’s finger and managed to generate more than a few bucks for Mum and Dad. In fact, his father took six months off work to manage the international hoopla, and there were t-shirts, mugs and other shite sold as a result. Not to mention the countless interviews with breathless reporters, all desperate to find a new angle on the tale. This is actually impossible – one son got bitten by the other son, end of story – but in the end the family were able to trade in their bite-prone house for a far better one.

Locally we have Things Bogans Like, a great blog that pokes fun at people who secretly remind us of ourselves. They’ve gone the more conventional route to making money by simply putting all their old posts into a book and charging $20 to buy it. It turns out this works a treat, and once they have enough new posts they’ll no doubt release another one. Probably around Christmas time.

More recently, the parents of twin baby boys talking gibberish to each other had their short home movie shown all over the world. What should they do next? Wait for it to pass and carry on with their lives?

My advice is no. If Kyle Sandilands is paid a fortune to speak absolute shit then they should go for it!