ZDnet: Andrew Keen The Great Seduction

Article Title: Bubbe is back
By: Andrew Keen

“So there I was, on the BART train, reading the newspaper-that-Rupert-is-lusting-after. I’d just finished Mossberg’s piece of hot air on the Helio (yawn) and was flipping through the other sections. I came to the Personal Journal and saw an interesting article about FDA approval for cancer vaccine. And then my eye caught the photograph in the center of the page. It was a photo of an old pale woman, standing in her kitchen, with a big plate of strudel in her hand. A very pale old woman. Too pale to be anything but from the Pale.

At first, I thought it was my long deceased grandma — Yetta Keen from the Swiss Cottage ghetto of North London. Even though it was just a photo, I could smell Grandma Yetta’s oily chicken soup bubbling out of the newspaper. And then I came to my senses. Even in this age of citizen media, when one has to fight to keep one’s face out of the press, my dead Grandma Yetta had no reason to be in the Wall Street Journal. And I was right. It wasn’t Grandma Yetta. But I was close.

So who was the familiar old Yiddisher woman staring out at me from the newspaper?

It was Bubbe! The self-broadcasting cooking maven I’d met in San Jose, at the Video-On-The-Net event. Bubbe from just outside Boston. Bubbe with the Internet tv show, Feed Me Bubbe. Old Bubbe who had become my surrogate grandma for a few minutes at the San Jose conventional center.

Bubbe has come a long way since San Jose. Now a front page star on the Wall Street Journal, she has become the pin-up for alter-kucker media. The article, by Jessica E. Vascellaro was entitled “Using YouTube For Posterity”. It was about the value of Web 2.0 media for self-broadcasting old people. Bubbe isn’t alone. Vascellaro writes about a 92-year-old housebound piano builder called Paul Gordon who made a eigh-minute clip of himself playing jazz on his piano. Now, it seems, all the old folk want to be on the Internet. They want to record their songs and their recipes. It’s the real history of old, interesting people. It’s preserving legacies that would otherwise be lost forever. And it’s fun.

And what’s so bad about that?

Nothing really. Nothing at all. So maybe I shouldn’t be such a reactionary fartface when it comes to all this citizen media. I have to admit that I would like my kids to watch old Grandma Yetta on YouTube. Yes, even I have to confess (sshh, don’t tell Jeff Jarvis) that not all Web 2.0 media is bad. Especially a media in which bubbly Bubbe is the star.”

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ZDnet: Andrew Keen The Great Seduction

Article Title: The Bubbe bubble
By: Andrew Keen

It’s official. The Internet boom is back. It’s the Bubbe bubble.

Nothing else can explain what I witnessed, with my very own eyes, at the San Jose Conventional Center yesterday. There I was, at Jeff Pulver’s VON show, prospecting for interesting young Web 2.0 video companies, and what did I find? I dug up an eighty year Jewish grandmother from Boston, known on the Internet as Bubbe, who had been schlepped out to California by her twenty-something grandson, Avrom Honig, a Web 2.0 entrepreneur. Bubbe (she wouldn’t give me her real name) is the star of an Internet video cooking show called “Feed Me Bubbe”. Bubbe is evidence of Chris Anderson’s long tail. Get used to her. She’s the old/new pin-up for the democratized media revolution.

Avrom Honig, a fast talking young man with a quick smile, sold his bubbe the Internet dream. He convinced Bubbe to let him film her in the kitchen and then broadcast the result on the Internet. So, on “Feed Me Bubbe”, you can watch Bubbe cook her kosher hamburgers, baked fish and, of course, her latkes. Bubbe promised me that her strudel is a particularly big hit. And so, she said, are her sweet and sour meatballs.

I met Bubbe and Avrom Honig at VON’s “Video On The Net” pavilion where “Feed Me Bubbe” was being broadcast — next to Michael Eisner’s VEOH and other mouthwatering Web 2.0 start-ups like VideoEgg. She was there at the invitation of Jeff Pulver (who looks a bit like a latke himself). According to Bubbe, Pulver contributed to flying her and Avrom Honig out to San Jose for the show. In Pulver’s mind at least, she is obviously a poster child for the user-generated-content revolution. I guess that Bubbe and her cooking show proves that any bubbe can be a star on today’s Internet.

So there I was, at San Jose’s cavernous Convention Center, watching “Feed Me Bubbe” on a flat screen monitor. And Bubbe was next me, confiding that her grandkids loved her “Famous Jelly Jammies”. We didn’t get into revenue models or distribution channels or the size of her audience (many many thousands according to Avrom Honig). And I forgot to ask Bubbe about her exit strategy. We were too busy talking about her fried matzo.

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