Saturday, April 24, 2010

William Shatner: Internet Hero

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Amber MacArthur blogs about what's making news in the tech world and highlights how it'll affect you
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The beauty about the Internet is that it has no real governing body, no politician or CEO at the helm. This lack of control leads to some of the strangest content on the planet, such as social networks dedicated to adults posing in baby diapers, to some of the most entertaining characters in the world. These days there is a new kid on the e-block, not a teenage boy wielding a lightsabre on YouTube, but an almost 80-something actor who has proven that anything he touches online turns to gold.

Canadian-born William Shatner is beaming new life into his career as he becomes an Internet hero time and time again. The Star Trek star first made us laugh online as the Negotiator in ads for Priceline, the discount travel website. A few years ago he launched Live Autographs, a destination for famous folks to sign personalized video messages live in front of fans for a hundred and fifty bucks a pop. Recently Shatner’s online escapades are even more creative, demonstrating that the man we know and love as Captain Kirk truly gets our new online culture.

Early in 2009 Shatner recited Sarah Palin’s tweets as poetry on The Tonight Show, soaking every Alaska-baked word in irony. Also leveraging Twitter’s growing popularity, the actor has signed on to play the father in “Shit My Dad Says,” based on the popular tweets from a 29-year-old son writing about his 74-year-old dad. The majority of these crabby old messages are too vulgar to publish, which should lead to some hilarious moments with Shatner on cam.

This week has probably been the highlight of the Shat’s wired rise to fame. Shortly after he teamed up with “The Taiwanese Susan Boyle” to sing Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on George Lopez’s late night show, the video blew up online. Yesterday news of the Shatner for Governor-General page on Facebook exploded, with close to 20,000 fans urging Canada to “boldly go where no country has gone before.” Started in March by a Canadian journalist, I suspect the site is just heating up.

While we might chuckle today, who knows what will happen with this unofficial nomination and the cult of Shat online. After all, if California can have the Governator, surely we should take a chance and appoint a homegrown media icon as our new GG. As fan Marian Brant says on the Facebook page, “A Shakespearean actor representing the Queen of England works for me.” Or as @alittler on Twitter says, “he’s Canadian AND from Star Trek - what is there NOT to love?!”

I say, forget Canada, let’s name Shatner the unofficial leader of the Internet. There would be no one better to guide us online and help us bring together the best of outer space and cyberspace so we can all deal with the real world in perfect harmony.