Web celebs

Given the millions of bloggers, it’s no mean feat for them to get noticed, let alone famous. But here are some who’ve catapulted to web celeb status.

Heather Armstrong: ‘I never had a cup of coffee until I was 23-years-old. I had premarital sex for the first time at age 22, but BY GOD I waited an extra year for the coffee. There had better be a special place in heaven for me.”
Heather Armstrong started www.dooce.com in February 2001 with a poem about milk. A year later she was fired from her job as a web designer for blogging about her experiences at work. But dooce.com continues to thrive, chronicling Heather’s life as a mum and ex-Mormon to an average of 300 000 daily readers. Heather has secured two book deals and also features on Forbes magazine’s list of the Most Influential Women in the Media for 2009.

Dr Brooke Magnanti: ‘There is a client, he wants to pee on you,” the manager said. I swear if someone ever got hold of transcripts of my phone calls, they’d probably think I was a — oh wait, I am.”
‘Belle de Jour” is the pen name for a former prostitute who maintained the award-winning blog, Diary of a London Call Girl. She started blogging candidly about her experiences working as a £300-an-hour escort during 2003 and 2004, to help foot the bill for her PhD. The blog-turned-book-turned-TV-series has achieved cult status, with Belle de Jour regarded as a pioneer of the sex blogging genre. After six years and to the delight — and shock — of her readers, she revealed her identity this November as Dr Brooke Magnanti, a specialist in developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology in Bristol.

Christian Lander: ‘Within white culture, your choice of transportation method says a lot about you. For example a Prius says you care about the Earth, a bicycle shows you REALLY care about the earth, and a bus shows that you are probably not white.”
Christian Lander was just your average guy with a blog — until it began to rocket in popularity this year. By March 2009, stuffwhitepeoplelike.com, which he started as a joke in January 2008, had gained 20-million hits and caught publishers’ eyes. It has been turned into a bestselling book and Lander has become an overnight celebrity. He has quit his job at an ad agency, appeared on the Conan O’Brien show and lectured at Google, Harvard and the London School of Economics.

Tavi Gevinson
She describes herself as a ‘dork who sits inside all day wearing awkward jackets and pretty hats” but 13-year-old blogger Tavi Gevinson has the fashion world at her feet. She launched her blog in March 2008 to express her personal take on all things fashion and post pics of her daily outfits. It quickly caught the attention of leading fashion designers, who initially didn’t believe that the blog was run by a tweenie. Now Tavi’s seated in the front row of international ­fashion shows, graces the covers of fashion magazines and is paid to write for a fashion website. All this while still making time for maths homework.

If you haven’t heard of the notorious Perez Hilton, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. The Cuban-American blogger has made a name for himself as the ‘superbitch of showbiz” since he started blogging in 2004. His aim? To dish the latest dirt and vicious gossip on celebrities and ‘out” those he thinks are closet homosexuals. Hilton’s blog has brought him fame — he’s starred in television series and radio shows, recorded a song and is at every hip Hollywood event — but also lawsuits for defamation and copyright infringement. Although his blog is regarded as Hollywood’s most hated website, Hilton’s readership keeps him influential. Publicists contact him to pitch stories about their clients and he regularly rubs shoulders with Hollywood stars.

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Qudsiya Karrim
Qudsiya Karrim is deputy online manager of mg.co.za. She was previously editor of Voices of Africa, the M&G’s blogging platform. She’s also a journalist, social media junkie, mom, bibliophile, wishful photographer and wannabe chef. She has a love-hate relationship with the semicolon and doesn’t care much for people who tYp3 LiK3 ThI$. World peace is important to her, but not as much as a 24/7 internet connection.

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