I have to admit as a broadcaster and brand, Ryan Seacrest, is an idol of mine. So I was really excited to see that he had posted a recent video interview I did with YouTube viral star Graham Stookey on his site.
The 18-year old singer/songwriter/high schooler from Littletown, Colorado was taped playing an incredible acoustic guitar set, which he then posted on YouTube. Someone sent me the link and after watching the video it was easy to acknowledge the amazing raw talent and chops this kid had. After seeing the views begin to rise, I knew it was time to snag the story before it hit the morning and talk show circuit. So I found Graham where every teen is these days—on Facebook (thank god for social networks).
Due to the fact that I'm a web savvy digital reporter, I also don't need to wait for my ideas to get the green light by execs for TV. If I see something I want to cover, I can jump on it and post the story as quickly as possible and get that so-called "exclusive" or story before it really hits the mainstream.
This year specifically, I've become really fascinated by viral culture and stardom online and its proliferation on sites like YouTube. From Double Rainbow to Antoine Dodson and Graham, I've had the opportunity to share the stories of these personalities that have since embedded themselves into the pop culture ether. Some are just that-- personalities—and others are truly gifted. In the past, they would have no opportunity to be heard, but we have entered into a different time where you don't need to come to Hollywood to get discovered. Instead, they might just come to you, blog and tweet about your video. And so the domino effect of online discovery begins and continues to spread. That's why I love the Internet!