Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Video Scenes From YouTube Live: Obama Girl, Chad Hurley and Free Hugs

Here’s a video I did while attending YouTube Live on Saturday–well, live–at the Herbst Pavilion at the Fort Mason Center, right on the San Francisco Bay.

The last time I had attended a big tech industry event here, it was the launch of Windows 97 from Microsoft (MSFT)–which was quite a different scene than this entertaining but freaky show, in which online celebrities jumped a little shakily into the analog world.

Let me just say, online celebrities make real-world ones seem 1,000 percent more interesting. But there is also a homespun sweetness to them too and a look-at-me striving that can be downright heartbreaking.

YouTube Live was the online video giant’s “first ever official live community celebration” and also its first try at a live-streamed event. The YouTube Live broadcast online drew about 700,000 viewers at its peak.

As such, as Peter Kafka of MediaMemo notes: “That is almost certainly a record for a Web-only event. But it’s a nonevent by mainstream entertainment standards.”

I am not sure big ratings were the point, though. Nonetheless, the show did attract a passel of Internet stars, including YouTube Founder Chad Hurley, who sat with Google Co-Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin right up front. Google (GOOG) owns YouTube.

Here is a video of the event, including an interview I did with Obama Girl, as well as Hurley, and also some snippets of the professional performers (Katy Perry, Will.I.Am and Akon) and a passel of online celebs (including the “Free Hugs” and “Will It Blend” guys) appearing onstage:

Please see this disclosure related to me and YouTube (which is owned by Google).


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik