When does being famous not make you a celebrity? When you’re famous on the internet of course. The rise of social media and all its related geekiness has propelled certain figures to cult stardom and generated huge followings for them – yet in the grand scheme of things, they remain relatively unknown. How very modern. Check out our list of the most famous ‘non-celebrities’ on the net.
10. Robert Scoble
The ‘Scobleizer’, Robert Scoble, has navigated his way through the murky waters of the blogging world to become the original internet ‘spokesblogger’ – whilst working for Microsoft he used his popular personal blog, scobleizer.com, to post favorable comments about his employers. After leaving Microsoft in 2006, Scoble has gone on to cement his place in the blogging world, and has done much to prove the value of blogging as an interactive platform and raise awareness for it as a tool aiding customer relationships. Currently pushing the art of video blogging, he may well find himself at the cutting edge of the next evolution of social media – but despite this, he remains very much an internet phenomenon. You might not have heard of him, but 11,506 Facebook users think he is the man.
9. Chris Pirillo
Self-confessed ‘media-friendly geek’, Chris Pirillo (aka ‘lockergnome’), produces content and in his own words ‘catalyzes’ communities. Chris is ‘famous’ for being a computer systems support guru and former TechTV host, as well as for having his own site, chrispirillo.com, which features an eclectic mix of opinions, technical support, coupons and videos. In reality, he’s not famous at all, although his Facebook following currently sits at 14,647 – not bad, but then again most of them love him for his fairly lame catchphrase, “we’ll ‘E’ ya later,” which he accompanies with an “E” hand gesture. Hmmm… not quite The Rock’s raised eyebrow then…
8. Veronica Belmont
Veronica Belmont is, in many ways, the Kristin Stewart of the geek world – hot, young, upcoming… unfortunately, being the hottest property in geek circles isn’t quite the same as being the hottest property in Hollywood. Still, she’s not doing too badly. Co-host of the Revision3 show, Tekzilla, alongside Patrick Norton, and host of the monthly PlayStation 3-based video on demand program, Qore, Veronica has a legion of 18,038 geeky Facebook admirers. Hollywood, watch out!
7. Evan Bailyn
Evan Bailyn may not be a household name right now, but if this list were about the names that will be on your lips in a few years time, he might well top it. This budding entrepreneur has been steadily building his web property portfolio since graduating from Columbia in 2003. Since then he’s founded First Page Sage, a search engine optimization and social media company with a near-perfect record of getting client websites to rank on the first page of Google (he’s even publishing a book entitled Outsmarting Google in 2011), and counts a host of celebrities and Fortune 500 companies among his clients. Evan’s Facebook following currently stands at a healthy 38,783, and counting… watch this space.
6. Guy Kawasaki
Guy was one of the original employees of Apple, responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984 and bringing to the geek world the concept of ‘evangelism’ – becoming a passionate advocate for technology development. In tech/geek/web circles, this makes him the equivalent of royalty, and although you probably haven’t heard of him, his modestly titled blog, How to Change the World, ranks in the top 2000 most popular. Guy has stated that “what you should do is create a great product or service…the goal is to change the world…if you do that, maybe you’ll be a legend.” Not quite there yet for most of us, Guy, but 38,995 Facebook fans certainly think so.
5. Tom Anderson
Tom Anderson, aka ‘Myspace Tom’, is a good contender for the most recognized yet least known man in the world. Yes, that’s right, he’s the guy with the profile shot and cheesy grin that is friends with EVERYONE on MySpace. But why you ask? Well, because in 2003 he co-founded MySpace with partner in crime, Chris DeWolfe. Today he works as a strategic consultant for the site, but under his presidency newly created MySpace accounts included Tom as a default ‘friend’ – so as of February 2010, Tom’s profile had over 12 million friends. His Facebook following isn’t shabby either, with 41,971 fans. Not too bad for someone about whom most people under 30 have wondered: “Who the hell IS he?”
4. Gary Vaynerchuk
‘Social Media Sommelier’, Gary Vaynerchuk, has blazed a twin path through the online and wine industry worlds, becoming what many consider to be the first wine critic of the Youtube era. As a testament to his influence, an article in the Washington Post recently proclaimed him as, ‘outside of Robert Parker, probably the most influential wine critic in the United States.’ Heady stuff. Unfortunately though, neither the wine world nor the social media world constitute most people’s idea of ‘celebrity’ – still, a respectable 45,033 Facebook fans suggest he could be one to watch for the mainstream future.
3. Seth Godin
Best-selling author and speaker, Seth Godin, has become a blogging sensation for his marketing techniques and insights into how ideas spread through communities. Godin’s ideas are so widespread, it is virtually impossible to not come across them when visiting any marketing website. Over the years he’s written 11 books and been involved in a number of ventures – including founding online writing site, Squidoo, which ranks in the top 500 most visited sites on the net. Testament to his growing strength is his legion of Facebook fans – 54,082 at last count.
2. Mark Cuban
This controversial entrepreneur, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, has been fined over $1.5m by the NBA for various incidents which, considering how much cash he has, doesn’t seem to bother him. Cuban made his fortune with various net ventures, including Broadcast.com which was acquired by Yahoo! at the height of the dot-com boom in 1999 – for $5.9 billion in Yahoo! stock. Now, arguably, Cuban is a celebrity of sorts, appearing at number 400 in the Forbes ‘Rich List’ – but let’s be honest; he’s not in the same league as George Clooney. It seems that whereas money can’t buy you the peak of celebrity stardom, it can get you a nice little following of around 78,000 on Facebook.
1. Kevin Rose
Known for his internet start-ups, Kevin Rose has risen to cult status in the online world, becoming the CEO of hugely popular social bookmarking site, Digg.com. Rose started out on the classic geeky path of working for a gaming channel, but quickly branched out, founding niche internet television network, Revision3, and then going on to start up Digg on a shoestring budget. Today Rose’s face provides the wallpaper for many a geek around the globe, avidly following his podcasts. Such is his success, he is beginning to make the transition into the mainstream, appearing on various chat shows in the US – but for now, this online genius remains very much the archetypal ‘web celeb’, with 123,233 Facebook fans and counting.