melagee

work in progress

Guest Blog: Life as a C-List Internet Celebrity

Posted by melagee on July 25, 2009

I’m a pretty normal guy. I work a mid-level white collar tech job for a financial services firm and I own a house in a quiet residential neighborhood. I’m a fairly ordinary guy.

I guess the weirdest thing about me is that once a year, I travel out to Toronto, Canada and host what is  essentially a huge party for about 100 people who know each other from the internet.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s an awesome party, spread out across some of the best pubs Toronto has to offer. I’ve taken to nicknaming RvBTO “The iLiquorod” because of the extended drinkennany that ensues. Also, we’re all there under the pretext of watching a cartoon made with a video game and maybe asking a couple of questions from the creators kind enough to join us that year. But largely, it is the mass destruction of multiple political careers by a bunch of well-timed photos.

I have proven largely resilient against said photos. You iPapparazzi will have to try much harder.

But it’s not all booze and internet jokes. These are the people many of the attendees talk to every day online. They have unique insights into our character precisely because RedVsBlue.com has become a safe harbor for our thoughts and feelings. Certainly, we’re closer to these long-distance friends than we are to our next-door-neighbors who, let’s face it, we hardly even talk to beyond exchanging pleasantries.

Because I have run a modestly successful podcast, I’ve been invited for the second year in a row to host this party. I don’t know exactly what modestly successful means. People download the show, though not nearly in the numbers you’d get on TV and radio. This broadcast of mine, let’s call it “Late Nite JengaJam”, has been running a little over 2 years and has seen some interesting conversations with creative people from across the internet that people who aren’t on the internet largely don’t know about.

But it does open some doors. Like the door to the big internet party in Toronto, for instance.

It’s a strange thing to come to this event and have people know ahead of time who you are. Unlike a normal celebrity, I’m not exposed to this every day. They ask me to sign things. Or body parts. I happily oblige, because, frankly, I”m happy to have any fans at all. Not for lack of quality at all. I am proud of almost every show I’ve ever broadcast. Rather, it’s like only being able to flex a muscle once a year.

Last year, that muscle was in overdrive. RvBTO 2006 coincided with my 26th Birthday. It’s a strange thing to have 70 friends from the internet sing “Happy Birthday” to you. And buy you dinner. And drinks. Lots of drinks. Too many drinks, probably. But it’s a good, good feeling.

I’m kind of happy with my specific brand of celebrity. It’s localized almost entirely within a 3 day event in a foreign country (I’m from Philadelphia, PA). And it stays mostly on the internet, which, in theory at least, I can walk away from at any time of my choosing. It’s all of the perks (well, except money, but mo’ money mo’ problems, amirite?) without any of the setbacks.

I’m a pretty normal guy. I have sports teams I cheer for and political parties I prefer.

I guess the weirdest thing about me is that I love being a C-List internet celebrity.

J.G. Edathil is one of those rare friends who started as a disembodied internet persona and quickly became the huggable, lovable, enjoyable friend that I see roughly once a year.  He’s always great company, has some of the most creative ideas I’ve ever seen, and is one of the kindest people I know.  He is also the author of a highly entertaining blog, and an equally entertaining podcast.  You should go there now.

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