Celebrity guest FPP idea February 25, 2002 8:26 AM   Subscribe

Random idea re "Celebrity guest" front page posts - perhaps invite Dvorak (or other chosen person) to become a guest for a day (or permanent member), brief him on how its all works, allow him to front page post anything he chooses, and have all the ensuing commetary with his participation. Other choices might be Colin Powell (oops this isnt MTV), Tom Friedman of the NYT (so often linked to), even Andrew Sullivan, etc etc. Just a thought.
posted by Voyageman to MetaFilter-Related at 8:26 AM (30 comments total)

I thought we were all in this together?
posted by Doug at 8:59 AM on February 25, 2002

Good idea. I betcha Dave Barry's got a few choice bookmarks he'd like to share with us.
posted by ColdChef at 9:01 AM on February 25, 2002

Actually, I've got a sneaking suspicion that a few MeFi'ers actually are celebrities(maybe minor ones, but celebs just the same) traveling incognito.
posted by jonmc at 9:10 AM on February 25, 2002

I thought posting on MeFi automatically made us celebrities. Dang. You mean now I have to go do something productive with my life, instead?
posted by ook at 9:42 AM on February 25, 2002

I've got a sneaking suspicion that a few MeFi'ers actually are celebrities

I, for example, am Tom Cruise. Wanna buy a duck?

(Seriously, I know of at least one well-known motion picture actor who reads MetaFilter fairly regularly and who has posted occasionally. And leave us not forget TV'S WIL WHEATON.)
posted by bradlands at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2002

What would celebrity guests really accomplish? The last thing I'd want is for Metafilter to be the weblog equivlent of E! television.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:05 AM on February 25, 2002

Amen, SweetJesus!
posted by briank at 10:07 AM on February 25, 2002

SJ, didn't you know celebrities opinions matter more than us regular McRegular Joe's? You have seen Politically Incorrect right?

I think it's a neat idea, but I don't really need to know what Moby's thoughts on the "Reflections" game are. Also, I can't help thinking that Matt is a celebrity of some sort, at least on the internet. In fact, I was in San Francisco this weekend ( all the way from NY, first time on the west coast!!); as I was sitting outside of Betelnut I kept thinking he would show up in a limo surrounded by internet/dotcom groupies. It didn't happen though, much to my disappointment.

posted by remlapm at 10:27 AM on February 25, 2002

Yes to what SweetJesus said. I tire of the cult of celebrity, and the nice thing about Metafilter is that it's a bunch of regular people. The occasional gushing over a "web celeb" is bad enough.
posted by acornface at 10:29 AM on February 25, 2002

Yeah remlapm, you're right.

I'm sorry I posted that. Since I posted my comments to this thread, a sick sense of uneasyness has came over me. I've been living my life in denial, up until now. No longer can I resist the pull of Entertainment Tonight (or ET, as it's called by people 'in the know!') and Access Hollywood.

So I've changed my mind! I'm all for the celebrity guests now! Could we get Shinia Twain to drop by? I bet she has some great insights into the Enron scandle.

Now where's my People magazine?
posted by SweetJesus at 10:38 AM on February 25, 2002

If anything, I think it might be useful to do communal interviews like slashdot does. We pick someone and get them to agree to questioning, let a thread run with questions, then publish answers to selected questions at a later date.

I never tried it because Slashdot does it so well already. But yeah, I agree with the cult of celebrity stuff SweetJesus was saying. We already get loads of it, no sense in asking for more.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:45 AM on February 25, 2002

As a side note, I was pontificating in a thread about digital art being purchased by the Guggenheim, and questioning the effectiveness of the curator Jon Ippolito's strategies. A few days later, Mr. Ippolito emailed me about the subject, and said he had been following the discussion. So one never knows who is reading the 'Filter.

*waves at Dick Cheney*
posted by evanizer at 10:49 AM on February 25, 2002

i like that idea a lot, matt.
posted by pikachulolita at 10:50 AM on February 25, 2002

When I read Mefi, Britney reads it over my shoulder. She smells nice.
posted by owillis at 11:05 AM on February 25, 2002

What would celebrity guests really accomplish? The last thing I'd want is for Metafilter to be the weblog equivlent of E! television.

For the record- my original use of the word "celebrity" has been taken a wee bit too literally (as you can see from the couple of choices I suggested.) Anyone this community found interesting would do just fine (PS Miss Spears would do just fine too).
posted by Voyageman at 11:20 AM on February 25, 2002

Other choices might be Colin Powell (oops this isnt MTV), Tom Friedman of the NYT (so often linked to), even Andrew Sullivan, etc etc.

Re: all of the above... Yuck. Yuck Yuck.
posted by y2karl at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2002

*note: y2karl unimpressed with Colin Powell, Tom Friedman and Andrew Sullivan.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:44 AM on February 25, 2002

I don't think celebs would do so well here; thanks to Acquired Situational Narcissism (NYTimes link) they would be unlikely to be able to handle the "vigorous disagreement" mefi is known for.

also, I am angelina jolie.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:08 PM on February 25, 2002

For the record- my original use of the word "celebrity" has been taken a wee bit too literally (as you can see from the couple of choices I suggested.) Anyone this community found interesting would do just fine (PS Miss Spears would do just fine too).

Yeah, I understood what you were talking about, but I took the idea to it's extreme for effect.

The problem is, what constitutes a celebrity? Colin Powell, Andrew Sullivan, Tom Friedman, etc - yeah they're all celebrties to a degree, in some people's eyes. But because someone writes for a newspaper, or works on a television show, does that mean we should elevate their opinions above the level of other users, and give them special posting privliages for some period of time?

And where does it stop? I've talked about this before, in reguards to the trace amounts of celebrity worship that some posters recieve on this site. I think it's better for Metafilter, in general, to keep a level playing field for everyone.

And don't even get me started on these "celebrity guests" prehaps using MeFi as a soapbox for their poltical views, or personal gain. There's enough of that already.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:13 PM on February 25, 2002

also, I am angelina jolie
I knew it! I knew it! Tomb Raider: WTF????
posted by owillis at 12:30 PM on February 25, 2002

Rebecca, you have a lot to answer for.
posted by Skot at 12:35 PM on February 25, 2002

Despite what some people think about the supposed MeFi "elite", the beauty of this site (and the internet in general) is that we all have an equal voice. As the New Yorker so eloquently put it, on the internet, no one knows your a dog--or a world-renowned newspaper columnist, or a former ensign on the USS Enterprise. Theoretically, at least, you are defined only by your words.

Having said that, I'd relish the opportunity to jabber with "celebs" (anyone have Chomsky's email addy?), but not at Metafilter. At least not at MeFi proper. If Matt were to set aside a separate area, devoid of #006699 blue, it would get my vote.

*waves something else entirely at Dick Cheney*
posted by jpoulos at 12:43 PM on February 25, 2002

worth a look: the guestbar at boingboing

isn't kirsten dunst a farker? (sorry wil wheaton, you dont count :P)
posted by sawks at 8:02 PM on February 25, 2002

foop! i wanted to be angelina jolie.

my new york years were populated with a few parties also attended by "celebrities." they were the most boring parties because everyone stood around all star struck. in the end, "celebrities" are just like us only they have oodles of moola in the bank, a better wardrobe and no acne. i'd rather continue reading what you all have to say.
posted by heather at 10:11 PM on February 25, 2002

i think this would be a good idea in the way that matt proposed - that is, as an interview. It will not be a press release, nor will we be asking Shania Twain about the Enron scandal. If the best celeb we can get is angelina jolie, then we get to ask her what the hell she was thinking when she made original sin, or how she sleeps at night knowing that tomb raider sucked so much ass. Remember that an interview consists of people asking questions, not just responses.

alternatively, i have a feeling there are a lot of "celebrities" out there who are really just smart people who are famous because they have interesting things to say - the kind of people who are linked to/about every day on MeFi. I've always wanted to sit down and have a conversation with aaron sorkin, writer of west wing, sports night, and a few good men, for example. Dave Barry would be cool too, as would many other people. I think that it would be cool to be able to use MeFi's popularity to be able to draw in intelligent - famous or not - people to talk to. Think of it as recruitment.
posted by rorycberger at 11:10 PM on February 25, 2002

Chomsky! Chomsky! Chomsky!
posted by y2karl at 6:23 AM on February 26, 2002

Firstly, I'd be more interested not in people of celebrity status, but people who have an established knowledge in a certain area. For example, IPLawyer would be an ideal candidate for any thread that focused on his forte of knowledge. There's others in here who may not be famous but are prominent in their respective fields. There's a danger here though. If Mathowie gives any one regular member special attention, there's a lot of others who will start emailing him saying: "I'm really successful at basketweaving! I'd like my own forum!" and then people would get upset when they weren't chosen. So some concrete criteria would probably have to be set up, or everyone would have to abide by Mathowie's judgement without recourse for bitching and whining. I don't see this being anything but risky on Matt's part. Still it would be nice to see people who are at the forefront in their area of expertise given their own forum somehow.

Not just big names from music or movies. Personally I'd probably have a heart attack if Scott Hamilton or Christiane Amanpour showed up in here, but could care less about Britney Spears. News media personalities, people behind the scenes, politically involved individuals, prominent scientists, philosophers, fiction writers.. the list goes on. They wouldn't have to be A-list celebrities to be an impressive feather in the MeFi cap. And each one would get a different reaction: I doubt there's any one celebrity or prominent person who all 13 thousand of us agree is kickass.

There's a number of individuals in here who are "net celebs" of varying degrees. There's no need to make a big deal out of it when it happens. Those who believe it's a big deal usually make themselves known for better or for worse (some JKottke threads for example had their share of JKo fans, threads which deteriorated into JKo sucks/rocks announcements). Still it's a natural and organic progression that occurs, and doesn't require special attention beyond what it gets.

No matter who would be introduced as a celebrity, there would be a faction of people in here who would interrogate the person something awful, perhaps causing them to never want to return. There would also be a faction of starstruck wide-eyed gushers. Depending on who the celebrity was, I'd probably fall into one of those two extremes because I'm an idiot. I would however try to be part of yet another faction: people who would welcome this opportunity and present the celebrity with thoughtful insight, commentary and questions about that individual and his/her interests. In the end, Matt would find himself censoring that one thread more than he's ever censored this entire site in the history of its existence. Any posts that were basically "you rock/suck" "me too!" "marry me" and the like would find their way into Matt's recycling bin.

Matt shouldn't have to go scouting for such talent and obviously no celebs are knocking on his door for a chance to be hounded by the teeming minions of MeFi, but for fantasy's sake we could theorize this way: it would be neat if a celeb got one FPP where s/he introduced him/herself and that one thread would be where people did the hounding. Then the celeb could opt to participate elsewhere, but Mathowie would probably best allow the celeb two separate accounts, one in which the celeb's name was used and one with an unsuposing nomenclature in which s/he could be anonymous.

And yes common sense dictates that something similar to this indeed probably already happened. As mentioned before, Wil Wheaton's been in slashdot and his website indicates he's aware of this place. It would be possible he's at least lurked in here, if he's not a semiregular under an assumed name. It's also equally possible that he's not.

Would it be necessary for Mathowie to orchestrate it, or would it be more ideal if it just happened? If say, Angelina Jolie just signed up and introduced herself in here? Would it be better for it to happen naturally and organically? Or if Janeane Garofalo posted a FPP where she was just waving "hi I'm here come flame me" would that be annoying and counter productive? Should celebrities get special treatment, or should they be required to follow the same guidelines we all must follow? Can a celebrity post a link that publicizes him/herself? If not, then what advantage does a celebrity have coming here? And even if Mathowie confirmed this celebrity in some way, would there not still be people who refused to believe this person was who they claimed to be?

This place is certainly not The View. For celebrities to appear here, it would need to be productive and useful to the participating celebrity. Chats are done with celebrities online, but usually it's through the "official" site that represents the celeb, or done through an organization like AOL or something that gets more users than MeFi has. Here, a celebrity can only reach a fraction of thirteen thousand users. Most agents would dismiss a place like this because the time invested would not be worth their client's public exposure.

I might recommend Matt waits a few months and then gives Monica Lewinsky a call. She'll probably be desperate for attention by the end of this year. I don't think most celebrities would welcome such an invitation. It is nice to dream about though. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 2:00 PM on February 26, 2002

Please don't call Monica Lewinsky.
By the way, I am, in fact, Earl Holliman.

That's right. The Earl Holliman.
posted by dong_resin at 3:24 PM on February 26, 2002

Earl, sweetie! How are you these days? (It's me, Angie!)
posted by rodii at 3:47 PM on February 26, 2002

no more celebrities, please no. there are other forums to chat about the 'entertainment industry' etc.
posted by kv at 10:18 PM on February 27, 2002

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