Fame and flames plague YouTube users

Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife, forget the double rainbow and leave Brittney alone because YouTube is here and it’s not going away anytime soon.

YouTube, a video uploading website, has created a window to fame, fortune and folly by allowing anyone with a decent Internet connection and a web cam to add whatever they want to its vault of videos.

For some lucky—or maybe not so lucky—people who attempt to express themselves artistically on the site, their videos can end up going viral and scoring millions of views. Viral videos achieve their status through Internet sharing, which usually occurs when a video is passed on through social networking websites. Since these YouTube phenomena reach such a massive audience, in many cases they end up engraved into minds of viewers and integrated in pop culture.

Justin Bieber, a young singer from Canada, went from singing at small local venues in his town to performing on multi-million dollar tours with thousands of screaming fans at his feet. For Bieber, YouTube was the bridge between big dreams and big success.

Personality and charm accompanied by talent and stage presence have allowed Bieber to skyrocket to stardom and live out his dreams.

Fellow viral star Rebecca Black, who is notorious for her song “Friday,” is also feeling the heat of YouTube. The music video for “Friday,” which was posted in Feb. 2011, received over 100 million views after eight weeks online. It even caught the attention of television network FOX, who featured “Friday” in the prom episode of “Glee.”

With the new and innovative way of information sharing that websites like Facebook and Twitter provide, the video was posted, reposted, tweeted and retweeted while receiving merciless reviews.

Although trailing Bieber’s hit song “Baby” by roughly 400 million views, Black has beaten the competition and could potentially be here to stay. She continues to create new music and with the help of YouTube she has generated a large fan base. However, many YouTube sensations find their stardom fading just as quickly as it rose.

Antoine Dodson, the YouTube star who clocked his 15 minutes of fame through an auto-tuned recount of a home break-in, is now finding himself in the news for his own crime: marijuana possession. Other sensations like Chris Crocker (Leave Britney alone!) and the double-rainbow guy are losing steam as bigger and better sensations are taking over.

Ray William Johnson, the star of the “Equals Three (=3)” video reviewing show has gone viral and is trending as one of the most popular channels on the website. He also has channels where he creates animations and produces songs that have given him over 900 million views in total. Like Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black, Johnson has molded a career out of YouTube stardom.

The effects of YouTube stardom have even been felt by local teen Tyler Tubbs, who acquired brief Internet fame by posting his reaction to the tornadoes that tore through Hempfield in March 2011.

On the Seton Hill University (SHU) campus, DJ Beckage, a freshman and musician said, “I don’t think it is right that people put out YouTube videos and suddenly become famous. I know a number of musicians that have worked all their life to scratch out a career to just be able to pay their bills. I myself have worked over nine years working on my craft and do believe that anything worth owning is worth working towards.”

But can YouTube also be used to engage students on SHU’s campus?

SHU is becoming active on the website with a video that was created and sent to Comedy Central, beckoning comedian and political activist Stephen Colbert to the their campus.

Katie Fritsch, a May graduate who starred alongside the SHU Griffin in the video said, “Before the Colbert video I had never really used YouTube myself. I check out other videos, but I had never been part of a posted video.”

Commenting on the effects of social networking sites and YouTube, Fritsch said, “It was amazing to me how fast the video spread. By getting posted to the Facebook walls of all my friends, it literally spread like wildfire.”

SHU,  with its dedication to technological advancement, is active on YouTube as well as several other mediums of Internet communication.

Fritsch said, “Seton Hill has a channel on YouTube so that definitely helps add all the key components of being on top of the social media game. It is important for SHU to reach into every outlet, because you never know who will stumble across a news release, twitter post or video clip.”

The world is being transformed by YouTube and its neighboring media sites on the Internet. Information travels much faster and puts many more people “in the know.” Whether they are singing the hits like “Baby” and “Friday” or speaking out to spread a social message, people are using YouTube as a means to success.

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