The Shot Heard Round Hollywood

Amanda Congdon Is Poised to Be First Online Star to Find Offline Fame

By Published on .

When Amanda Congdon unceremoniously told the world July 5 she was leaving the popular Rocketboom video blog, it set off a frenzy the likes of which we've never seen in the social media universe. You would have thought that Teri Hatcher was announcing her departure from "Desperate Housewives."
Steve Rubel
Steve Rubel Credit: JC Bourcart

Between July 5 and July 14 (when I am writing this column), Ms. Congdon's exit from Rocketboom generated a staggering 129 news articles plus personal appearances on several major TV news programs, including CNN's "Reliable Sources." Of course, this event was even more magnified in the blogosphere, where it generated some 2,000-plus conversations.

Since she announced her split with Rocketboom, Ms. Congdon has been coy about her future. She did confirm in an e-mail, however, that she signed with the Endeavor talent agency in May. Meanwhile, Rocketboom wasted no time in replacing their star with Joanne Colan, who at one time was with MTV Europe. Ms. Colan will surely see a boost from this smart career move.

Ms. Congdon's departure from Rocketboom and her move to Endeavor will go down as the shot heard round the entertainment world. She is poised to become the first personality to parlay her tremendous online fame into mega-celebrity in the offline world. I'm sure her phone is ringing off the hook and it won't be long before we see her pitching products on TV.
Like Amanda Congdon, other online talent will get plucked from their internet perches by the big talent agencies.
Like Amanda Congdon, other online talent will get plucked from their internet perches by the big talent agencies.

The fallout from this episode doesn't end with Amanda Congdon. In the next six to 12 months we will see many talented writers, video bloggers and podcasters get plucked from their internet perches by the big talent agencies. These online celebs will be called on to help create or appear in movies, TV programs and, yes, commercials.

The implications of this? The talent marketplace is about to get flattened like a pancake. It won't take long before the agencies recognize that there's an incredible pool of untapped talent they can secure on the cheap -- right from their desktops. If they can identify the stars who will transcend the online world, they can resell their services at a higher premium to studios and advertisers eager to put credible people in front of the cameras.

While talent like Ms. Congdon's doesn't grow on trees, you can bet that a widespread hunt for talent is under way in the social media world and that the entertainment industry will never be the same.

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Steve Rubel is a marketing strategist and author of Micropersuasion.com. He is senior VP in Edelman's Me2Revolution practice.
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