Kids these days — they have no shame. I’ll readily admit I’m not old enough to be cynical about this, but the advent of easily accessible video posting tools seems to have brought out a surplus of me-me-me in my peers.
Almost daily, it seems, we get pitches like this one:
Three friends started up this online adventure out of Newington figuring since all of us at one time or another wished we could go on a roadtrip across the country… why not do it and have someone else pay for it, share their stories, adventures and pictures with the world. [via email]
The team has raised all of $54 so far, according to its website. The small print on the donation page says “as soon as we depart for the trip we will take 50% of all the money and donate it to children’s charities through the country. In other words, we might make a stop at something like St Jude’s Childers Hospital and donate a portion to them.”
They’re not alone in their desire to do something cool and have it be subsidized.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally jealous. In a lot of cases these projects have a higher purpose of advocacy or art. NewTeeVee contributor Craig Rubens helped found a veggie oil-powered bus trip touting sustainable energy, the Big Green Bus, which will head out on its third edition this summer. A fellow named Noel Hidalgo we presented with at the SF Video 2.0 Meetup is raising money to start “one man’s open-source journey around the world documenting free culture, social innovators and global change.” Last Stop for Paul depicts two coworkers traveling around the world to scatter a friend’s ashes and, well, see the world.
The great American road trip has been around since Lewis and Clark, but it seems to me this is a special time of personal entrepreneurship. Near instantaneous video-blogging tools make the returns to sponsors all the more deliverable. With a few hours of work setting up a free publishing tool, your personal bid for celebrity becomes accessible to a global audience.
The phenomenon is taken to its ultimate form by Justin.tv. There’s no higher purpose here besides the human experiment of broadcasting your life all day every day. Justin Kan’s job is to be himself – which seems to entail staring at his laptop or talking to the media whenever I tune in. But the sponsorships keep on coming. If the goal is getting paid for being yourself, I guess it’s working.