Love her or hate her (and be honest, you love her), Amanda Congdon was the first famous face in online video content. After two years of hosting Rocketboom, the wildly successful show that she co-founded with Andrew Baron, she travelled the country for her vlog Amanda Across America, overseeing operations with partner Mario Librandi at their production company Oxmour Entertainment, supposedly designing a multiplatform comedy show for HBO, and, of course, preparing for her own vlog on ABC News, which debuted in December 2006.
It’s hard to imagine a more industrious vlogger. While the vlog is the main component of her collaboration with ABC, she also appears regularly on the network’s online news channel ABC News Now and acts as a commentator-cum-personality on ABC’s traditional media, from “Nightline” to “Good Morning America.”
Amanda on ABC is exactly like Rocketboom. It’s is an interactive news program where viewers submit large and small happenings to get discussed by Amanda, who selects stories with an emphasis on the tech world and things that could be referred to as “quirky.”
In the February 28, 2007 episode, Amanda discusses a refrigerator that throws beer cans, the evolution of the emoticon, statistics behind blinking, and how sleep patterns match personality traits. She covers everything, and it should also be said that she covers everything with an absurd amount of speed. If anything, the four-minute episodes released each Wednesday feel like Rocketboom on fast-forward. This headline-only format can sometimes be off-putting, particularly when there’s only a two-second delay between an audio package of incarcerated reporter Josh Wolf and “Let’s look at eight beautiful bald women.”
Her ease in front of the camera, quirky sentiments and tastes, and knack for turning her own material into something fun to watch was what won over most viewers on Rocketboom and it seems like that’s exactly what ABC wanted to replicate here. Viewers are strongly encouraged to send in stories, feedback, and even videos to be featured on the show.
The site also contains a blogroll (which is noteworthy only because it might be the first time a network news employee has endorsed competitive news bloggers like Atrios with a featured link on the ABC News site) and the video player even has an “Amanda’s Favorites” list, showcasing funny or interesting videos that Amanda found online and felt like sharing.