This is the final set of matchups for the initial round. In this division, celebrities who have made a splash on the social web will face off head to head until a winner is found. I’ll preface this division by saying I based most of these picks off of twitter activity. As always comments on my ridiculous matchups are appreciated.
(1) President Barack Obama vs (16) Rick Astley
There’s more to this matchup than is immediately apparent. President Obama’s twitter account was a constant stream of updates up until his victory on election day in November 2008, and since then only two updates have been made. Rick Astley’s rise to fame due to Rickrolling culminated in his appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in November 2008, when the internet meme started to fade away. As much as I hate to give up on Rick, to let him down (etc…), I have to give the leader of the free world a pass into round 2.
(2) Shaquille O’Neal vs (15) MC Hammer
Shaq is a twitter fiend, constantly keeping his fans up to date on matters of interest, well, to his fans. Here’s a great example. He’s got over 350,000 twitter followers (including, for some reason, myself). MC Hammer is not quite as prolific but is a bit more readable, at least to my aging eyes (he still boasts over 250,000 followers). I’m not sure which way to go here, as they both bring something similar but slightly different to the social web. I think I’ll give some credit to MC Hammer for namedropping a fellow EMCer’s blog in a recent “Top Ten” list.
(3) Britney Spears vs (14) Jimmy Fallon
Somehow Britney has remained in the spotlight year after year, dominating web searches and gossip rags (if not the music industry). Her 500K+ followers on twitter are treated to updates from herself and her staff both (with nice degree of transparency, each tweet is signed) about everything from her tour to her trip to the bowling alley. Fallon, with over 400K followers, is a late night TV host and comedian, and graduated 15 credits shy of a Computer Science degree. As such he’s a fairly geeky celebrity, even if he doesn’t command the same sort of blind fan devotion as Britney. Even though I’m not a big fan of either of them, they both are using the social web in innovative ways. But while Britney seems (to me) to be on the downturn, Fallon is on the rise. Momentum leads to another upset!
(4) Ashton Kutcher vs (13) Trent Reznor
You know Kutcher as the creator of Punked and the young husband of Demi Moore. You know Reznor as the bitter rock-and-roll face of Nine Inch Nails. Kutcher has 450,000+ followers on twitter, and he comes across as simultaneously self-promotional, open, and sometimes boring (hey, it’s twitter, what else is new). Reznor has an impressive 120,000+ followers himself, and spends a good chunk of his time attacking the music industry. This is a situation where I’m prone to give an award to the innovator rather than the big name — Reznor is trying to fix a dying industry (music labels) as opposed to Kutcher who just happens to have a lot of followers….
(5) Lance Armstrong vs (12) Felicia Day
The embattled cyclist (350K+ followers) versus the geek heroine (230K+ followers). Armstrong chronicles his training and his controversial return to competition. Day chronicles her life as a geek actress. This image almost single-handedly won the battle for Felicia (yes, I’m that kind of geek), but it’s hard to take a victory away from one of the best-known athletes of our generation. Armstrong wins. Felicia, forgive me.
(6) Al Gore vs (11) Jonathan Coulton
The former Vice-President and current champion of environmental responsibility has 375K twitter followers. Coulton is a geek hero whose quirky music has made him a celebrity among a certain crowd (which somehow results in “only” 23K followers). Frankly I’m more excited about people like Coulton online, because Al Gore has no trouble getting his word out through traditional media. But still, I can’t take the victory away from the former VP, not when his competitor is in such a niche market.
(7) Dooce vs (10) Stephen Colbert
Dooce is the original “mommy blogger”. Colbert is a media monster. Given Colbert’s ability to dominate any Internet poll he is entered into, I’m sure I should give him a victory. But Dooce has shown the world you can have “blogger” as your job title, even if you’re not a tech expert or media maven. Just writing about life in a compelling enough way will get you noticed, and that’s an impressive feat.
(8) Wil Wheaton vs (9) Stephen Fry
Star Trek TNG actor and geek hero versus British humorist. Both are prolific twitterers, bloggers, and have embraced the social web to maintain relevance in the 21st century. Both have major geek credibility, but I’m going to give the award to Fry simply based on longevity. Sorry, Wesley. Er, Wil.
So your winners today are:
- (1) President Barack Obama
- (15) MC Hammer (Upset)
- (14) Jimmy Fallon (Upset)
- (13) Trent Reznor (Upset)
- (5) Lance Armstrong
- (6) Al Gore
- (7) Dooce
- (9) Stephen Fry (Upset)
That completes round 1 … stay tuned for upcoming rounds!