The Spirit of Hollywood in Blogosphere

April 3, 2006

Since blogosphere is such a wide ranging arena, I’m going to limit my “in-depth” discussion to the area I know best – hot chicks & hot chicks with brains…woohoo!

The two famous bloggers in Singapore, Xiaxue and Dawn Yeo, they rock my world man…nah, just kidding! They are interesting case studies that fulfill my academic and personal “needs” (oh naughty!!!) at the same time.

Dawn Yeo, with an avatar of “clapbangkiss”, blogged her way to celebrity status in and out of the virtual environment. She was the cover girl for the December issue of FHM Singapore and was voted October 2005’s “Hottest Blogger” on www.hottestblogger.com (a Singapore site). She was also featured on other popular local magazines such as Her World, Cleo, and 8 Days.

In November 2005, Dawn was signed on by Tinsel Management to be groomed into an artiste. It plans to groom her for acting, singing and advertising opportunities in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. But celebrity status came at a price. She was alleged to have undergoing plastic surgery to enhance her looks. Her enemies posted photos of her in her younger days at school, in which she looked drastically different. The controversy over Dawn’s alleged plastic surgery became so heated that on November 12 2005, “Dawn Yang” became the top search on Technorati.

I’m going to quote a line from the movie Chicago, “If you can’t be famous, be infamous!” She manages to be both! Personally I don’t think this episode dented her popularity. She might lose some fans, and gain others along the way. This virtual platform is taking up the characteristics of show business. Talk about the convergence movement, it’ll be interesting to see how if her showbiz career will take off from here.

Another local blogger Wendy Cheng aka Xiaxue commented on Dawn in a newspaper interview: ‘She’s not a real blogger. She’s just a pretty girl who happens to have a blog.’

Ouch! I sense a catfight. Now, this brings us to Xiaxue. In Chinese, “xiaxue” means snowing, and is considered a nice name for a girl. In November 2005, she was ranked the 5th most powerful woman in the blogosphere by Jack of all Blogs. Her blog has also won several online awards, mostly on popularity: Best Singapore Blog 2003, Best Asian Blog 2004, and 2005 Weblog Best Asian Weblog. The daily hit-rate on her blog is supposedly around 20,000 to 70,000 (remember, “supposedly”). In July 2005, her blog was hacked into, and deleted; the act attracted a lot of attention in the local internet community. A fellow blogger gave an (almost) academic perspective on Xiaxue and her popluarity, calling her “the Paris Hilton of the Blogosphere”.

She’s also been feature in numerous newspapers and magazines articles and interviews in Singapore. She appeared in a current affairs program which explores blogging as a social issue. Her blog site is almost like a website – with sections introducing characters, FAQs, photos (an external link) and a Media Center!

I am impressed by the “Xiaxue Media Center” within her blog! This girl understands the importance of other media outlets, and does her homework on public relations. The Photos link to an external page which has tones of her photo. She even coined up the term “Blogder” in her FAQ section, which stands for her reader (quote “blog + reader”). A check on Wikipedia shows that an entry for this term has not been created. Any takers?

Judging by her site, Xiaxue is tech-savvy, media-savvy, and PR-savvy. No wonder, given that she has worked as a columnist for newspapers and magazines. It is undeniable that Xiaxue and Dawn became mini celebrities through their blogs. Their popularity snowballed with increasing media coverage (and controversies). They were elevated from one platform to another, from the “virtual” to the “real”. The spirit of Hollywood came to the Blogosphere, and I suspect it’s here to stay.

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