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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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”