It’s ironic really. The Orwellian idea of Big Brother had a state dictatorship spying on its citizens, while more recently The Truman Show had one man’s life being broadcast to millions as entertainment, without his knowledge.
That’s not how it’s going to work, though. Soon, us proles will be queuing up to stream our daily lives online. It’s already happening with the runaway success of Justin.tv, where a bloke in San Francisco is webcasting 24 hours a day from a mobile camera attached to his cap.
Now sites like Ustream.tv and Kyte.tv are spring up to let anyone do the same, doing for video webcasting what YouTube has done for video clips, and Flickr for photos. Forget 15 minutes of fame: 24/7 streaming stardom will soon be where it’s at.
Trouble is, I can’t see celebrities standing for it.
Think of the way celebs clambered onto the reality TV bandwagon once it was rolling. Survivor mutated into I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, while Big Brother spawned Celebrity Big Brother. Celebrity Masterchef, Celebrity Wife Swap… In the traditional TV world, if us viewers start becoming stars, the stars muscle right back in.
With that in mind, it’s only a matter of time before a celebrity proudly announces plans to beat Justin.tv at his own game, and webcast around the clock. Obviously, it won’t be an A-lister – although I’m sure Victoria Beckham will have offers from 17 video-streaming startups on her desk as soon as she moves to LA this summer.
No, it’ll be someone who’s either desperate enough to ignore the possible consequences, or arrogant enough to positively relish them. Or some combination of the two. With this in mind, here’s Tech Digest’s line-up of potentials
2-1 Jodie Marsh. Her reality show recently flopped, she’s got to find some way to top arch-rival Katie Price, and as anyone who’s read Jodie’s blog will know, she’s got no qualms about sharing her thoughts.
5-1 Tony Blair. He’ll soon have time on his hands, and a 24-7 stream would be just the thing to upstage Gordon.
7-2 One or both of the Cheeky Girls. Because let’s face it, the pop comeback is a bit of a non-starter.
10-1 Sir Richard Branson. Anything for a good publicity stunt. Would be ace if done from the first Virgin Galactic flight into space; less so if it’s just another balloon ride.
12-1 Jade Goody. Could a Jade.tv stream help regain her popularity? Also, she’s already done every celebrity reality show on TV, so needs a new challenge.
27-2 Paris Hilton’s pet. Whichever one she’s carrying round at the moment. A CollarCam would be ace. And imagine the thrill of knowing that it’s popped out a poo in her handbag before she does.
40-1 Russell Brand. Is he really that much of a lothario? And how does he get his hair to do that?
70-1 Flavour Flav. You could practically hide a full broadcast HD cam in that clock anyway.
100-1 Osama bin Laden. It would really get on George Bush’s wick…
200-1 Prince Philip. Imagine the spike in viewers whenever he had foreign dignitaries round for a state dinner.