Sarah, the cute coat check girl with a Sinead Oconner haircut, had no idea what the hell was going on. Of the 2,000 rabid technophiles waiting in a line that snaked around the corners of three Grenpoint, Brooklyn blocks, 400 lucky individuals (I estimate around 350 ecstatic dudes, 30 excited ladies, and 20 nonplussed ladies who got dragged along by their ecstatic significant other) and equally as many video recording devices had infiltrated her favorite hipster night club with a nightlife pedigree.
Me: What are all these people here for?
Sarah: I don’t know. Some kind of internet thing.
Me: What are those guys doing on stage?
Sarah: They’re not performing…they’re just kinda talking…seems pretty cool.
Me: Really?!? Cool?
The crowd drowned out the rest of her meh response. Kevin Rose has just done his best Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly impression and cheers riddled with anticipation filled the room. Rose and fellow TechTV-alum/co-host Alex Albrecht were just about to start their latest live taping of Diggnation, an online show produced by Revision3 that provides a weekly summary of the top stories submitted by many-a-teenager to the democratized news site Digg,
Since its July 2005 launch, the show’s put on a number of live recordings to an ever-increasing fan base of wired males who lament the loss of Screensavers, vie for a spot on the Top 100 Diggers, or simply like recycled tech and online culture stories delivered by two buddies each a few beers deep.
###I think the latter is mostly what brought fans out to see the show last night. With their powers combined, Rose and Albrecht give off an accessible, affable vibe. Good-looking, successful guys who project social images what wouldn’t relegate them to hours alone in their parents’ basements. In high school, these were the dudes who felt most at home in geeky social circles but still talked to the jocks and in college were welcomed with high-fives when they showed up at frat parties.
Due to cramped space and the heat emitted by hundreds of starstruck men, I left about 15 minutes into the taping. I saw some kid standing around in the drizzle outside so I said wassup.
Two weeks shy of his 18th birthday, Westchester native Alex Constaninescu (it’s Romanian) wasn’t allowed into the venue. The thin kid with a slight voice and no nerd-defining characteristics said he got there an hour before the doors opened with his friend, who was now texting him how much of a blast it was inside.
Alex described his Diggnation viewing as “casual,” and then went onto explain how he watches the show every week, and sometimes, on special occasions, he and said friend crack open a cold one and watch it together.
Alex: I’ve read all the articles and know about all the stuff they’re talking about, but it’s fun to watch the funny, stupid, sometimes sexual humor…I’m into tech stuff and I wouldn’t say Kevin Rose is my idol, but he’s definitely an inspiration.
Me: An inspiration for what?
Alex: Well, he’s a typical geek and computer guy that’s made it. He puts himself out there and is kinda like a role model, I guess. I want to be an entrepreneur or do something with the web, and if he can do it, maybe I can, too.
Me: Do your other friends at school understand Diggnation’s appeal?
Alex: Nah, they’re going to make fun of me when they find out I’ve been sitting outside this place for 5 hours.
Me: Maybe you should’ve come earlier. Sometimes that helps, ya know, to avoid security.
Alex: Yeah, we planned on getting here earlier, but we had to make a quick stop by the Apple Store first.
Kevin Rose might be an inspirational role model, but he aint got nothing on Steve Jobs. At least not yet.