I know I’m not the first to notice, but the web has an amazing way of making celebrities out of everyday people.  Often they are not even aware of their status.  When I watch Dr. Wesch’ Anthropological Look at Youtube which he presented at the Library of Congress www.youtube.com/user/mwesch I can’t help but feel that he is flabberghasted by the fame of his “Text is Linear” video. His emotion is couched in a fascination with the anthropological implications of the new linkings available through the world wide web. His work is brilliant and insightful and deserves every bit of attention it gets.

bud-the-teacherThis weekend I met some other celebrities at a retreat for the National Writing Project. I was amazed when I realized the regular guy sitting at my table was actually ‘dogtrax’ a blogger I’ve been following for quite some time through Ben Davis’ collaborative blog, teacheng.us. I tried not to ogle like a pre-teen at a Jonas Brothers gig, but I suck at hiding my excitement. Luckily, moments later, “Bud the Teacher” was unmasked as the big guy with the piercings. Of course, I shouted “You’re Bud the Teacher?” eliciting a roomful of laughter, covering my already awestruck state of mind over dogtrax. Ain’t life grand?

As we finished for the weekend, I said goodbye to these lovely nerds and tried to express how much I enjoy reading their work. Bud the Teacher actually denied his guruishness self! He doesn’t seem to think he does anything special and perhaps Dogtrax thinks the same way! These guys are my kind of celebrities. They have NO CLUE what an impact they have made in the world. You’ve got your celebs who’ve been around a while like Kevin Rose whose career blossomed on TV. Now, the TV appearances are completely superfluous to building celebrity. Word of mouth has been replaced by word of web so these everyday people, doing what they do because they enjoy it, achieve a sort of notoriety which is perhaps better than the traditional celebrity. There is probably a greater degree of privacy afforded the new celebs. There is more choice. Keep your life quiet uncluttered and nerdy, or create a video for youtube and let your wild self get famous!

And here’s an addendum:  I spoke to a colleague about meeting these fellows and by lunchtime she reported that she had actually seen a reference to Bud the Teacher on Choice Literacy today.  She had never ever heard of him before.  Let’s talk.  Should we change the Kevin Bacon Effect to the Bud the Teacher connection?

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 1:38 am  Comments (2)  

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  1. What a nice post, Jennifer.
    I appreciate the comments and I am sure Bud does, too. Fame is such a fickle …

    From my perspective, I was just as excited to be sitting next to you, sharing Twitter people and talking about technology and the clasroom.

    I began blogging, just like you … and it was when a friend from NWP said to me: What? You’re not blogging? Why not? (This was Maria Angala, from DC, and we had done some blogging with our classes as virtual pen pals).

    Sometimes, you write into the void and don’t think about how you connect with others. I often find myself writing for myself, in a public way.
    Anyway, I’m glad that we met, sat at the same table all weekend and caught your own excitement at the possibilities.

    The Bud the Teacher effect … yeah. I like it.

    Your friend,

  2. Jenny,

    We all take turns when we have something important to say. Or at least we should. I can’t say that there’s a “Bud the Teacher Effect,” but if there were, I’d want it to be this –

    If something that I can say/do/write inspires you to say/do/write something that will inspire the next person, and so on and so on, and along the way we all learn lots and say/do/write important things – well, that’s pretty special, and an effect I can happily share my name with.

    As an aside, the dandelion is going to be one of those sticky metaphors that will continue to influence my thinking for some time to come. So perhaps there’s a Jenny Effect, as well.

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