Sunday, October 4, 2009

Embarrassing videos and photos – the only things that last forever on the Internet

The failed promise of digital content – Part 6: Embarrassing videos and photos

There’s an exception to the rule that nothing lasts, or can be guaranteed to last, on the Internet.
And that’s embarrassing videos and photos that go viral and entertain millions.
While content from established media companies and the general public might be on the Web one day and gone the next, you can be sure some videos and photos will always be available. Those are the videos of average Joes and Janes making colossal fools of themselves.
In this category, I’d include the “Star Wars kid,” the college sportscaster who coined “Boom goes the dynamite,” and Miss South Carolina 2007 talking about geography. The list goes on.
These are videos that they’ll be regretting and resenting for the rest of their lives. When their obituaries are written, they will mention the embarrassing videos that made them famous. has collected the stories behind these Internet viral videos. Check them out here at CollegeHumor’s Web Celeb Hall of Fame.
A similar phenomenon occurs with celebrity sex tapes and nude photos. Once released into the wilds of the Internet, they can never be brought under control. They’re out there for good.
The Associated Press recently posted an article titled “Photos of mullets, leotards return to haunt online.” It discussed how embarrassing photos of family members and friends are turning up online. Web sites like and specialize in exposing such embarrassments.
Fail Blog is another Web site that celebrates mistakes caught on video or photos.

The “Star Wars kid” (top)
“Boom Goes the Dynamite” sportscaster
Miss South Carolina 2007

See previous articles in the series “The Failed Promise of Digital Content.”

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