Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Rocketboom founders split: Lucaso's recent Amanda interview

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 6, 2006

Amanda Congdon, who started as a presenter on Rocketboom, has become the very visible and successful face of the video blogging boom. She just announced she is leaving to work from her own site. Our culture editor, Lucaso recently spoke with Amanda Congdon. . .

By Lucaso for Silicon Valley Watcher
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So, Amanda is leaving Rocketboom.

I interviewed her recently at vloggercon and asked her about her superstar plans. She seemed committed to Rocketboom at the time, so I wonder what changed in the past few weeks?

The interview is below:


I recently interviewed Amanda Congdon, host of Rocketboom, a popular video blog. I was hoping to get a taste for the "real” AC, not just the one we see every morning in front of the camera, spewing interesting web stories and quirky political satires.

But as Amanda Congdon was ‘headlining' the conference (and every geek and their crackberry was ogling over her) it was a bit difficult to get the real deal out of this once out of work, off-off Broadway actress turned vlogging superstar.

I found a quiet place and pulled AC aside, hoping to create a more casual environment for a "personal" chat. You know, get some spice… the info beyond the wikipedia entry (like, do you have a boyfriend? or, what's your favorite color? or, do you prefer mojitos or martinis? Or, what are you doing tomorrow night? etc. etc.)

But AC was on her game, basking in the spot light, and she wasn't about to let her guard down, especially not for me ("I'm sorry… what was your name again? Oh, Lucaso, riiiiggghhttt. And you're with who again?"), and especially not when she had an on-camera interview with CNET immediately afterward.

Ok, I can play the formal game. I put on my "respectable journalist" hat and curbed my cravings for the nitty, gritty tabloid angles.

"What do you think of all these new "Amandas" popping up in the vlogsphere?" I asked.

"Oh, they're great," she said. "I think its great for vlogging. We want to see the community grow and be successful and I think we can do that by working together."

(yawn) Ok… she's smart. She's got the "right" answers. All that hair flipping, and bottle chugging must be part of the act…
"Ok, greeeaaattt, how about acting, Amanda. Will you be doing more? Do you have an agent? Are you headed to Hollywood!?" I asked with a big smile, seeing if I could bait her into revealing her superstar, vlogger plans to take over the world.

"Well, yes, I have a television agent and I'd like to do more television acting," she said, "But I'm not headed to Hollywood, by any means. And Rocketboom is, and will be, my primary focus for a long time."

Ok, this sucks… I still haven't gotten anywhere passed the wikipedia entry, and CNET has already interrupted us once: "We're ready when you are Amanda."(Big smile)

The sweat collects on my forehead. I'm feeling the pressure. I have to get to those spicy bits and fast! My pace quickens. "So, what do you do in your spare time?"

"Well, honestly, I don't have much spare time. I only have one day off a week and I usually spend it relaxing. I'm kind of a workaholic."

No, no, no! I want to know about the VIP vlogger parties… the late night limo rides with Scoble and Winer… the undulating bottle of cucumber cream used to hide the circles under your eyes for those early morning shoots. What's all this talk of work? You're a beautiful, vlogging superstar in the heart of the city that never sleeps! Where's the party, sister?!

I feel the window closing… the door dropping. This is it. I need something to write about and I need it fast. I blurt out one more last question: "Are you into yoga?"
(gulp) Ut-oh.

She looks at me strangely. "Um, no… I do core flex training." She looks over at CNET's lights and camera. She smiles. "Great. That was an easy interview. Thanks!" She says as she walks over to CNET.

I don't know. Maybe I'm not fit to be a tabloid journalist and uncover all those juicy, behind the scenes, superstar details in five minutes. Or maybe Amanda truly is a workaholic, who worked me in our brief encounter. But I think it's more fitting to surmise that Amanda Congdon is simply the real deal: she's the same on camera as she is off camera.

It's one of the great things about vlogging and the new media: there's no hiding behind superstar facades, and projected images. Vloggers (and bloggers) keep it real every day, sharing their lives and their thoughts with their entire networks… No fronts. No glam. No BS… just real people sharing real ideas.

As the Audrey Hepburn of vlogging, I think Amanda Congdon will do a great job of ushering in a new era of online superstars that talk the talk and walk the walk. The concept of celebrity stardom is changing as a new network of reality stars is taking its place.

And, why shouldn't it? Aren't we all superstars? I know I am. I did all the dishes today. :)

Update:Vid blogging is here but TV and Hollywood are already there and why any once struggling actress turned vlogging superstar would turn down any Hollywood dream offer, I dunno.

Perhaps she didn't. Or perhaps she realized she could vlog on her own.

Or perhaps it's all a PR stunt for the opening of a new RB LA studio "Unboomed!"

At any rate, the blogosphere is amuck. There's a tabloid angle here, I can smell it. Maybe I still have a future! Jason, I'll consider the job, maybe ;)

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