Image Credit: Illustration: Dana Shams/©Gulf News

Take some talent, a video recording device, basic internet access and a platform like YouTube and voila! You have the next big video going viral on the internet. The power of platforms such as YouTube and Blogger seem to have given people a shot at stardom like never before. From singers such as Charice Pempengco and Justin Bieber to bloggers such as Perez Hilton, the internet is quickly becoming the perfect springboard to popularity. Gulf News readers came together for this week’s online debate to ask whether the internet is actually bringing up real talent. If not, are people with nothing more than an amusement factor getting famous because of the internet’s reach? Tell us what you think at

14:07 Gulf News: Internet’s reach allows people to become famous, even if they are not talented.

14:08 Simran Vedvyas: I agree — you don’t need talent to achieve internet stardom!

14:08 Fatima Khan: The internet is not just creating celebrities but also helping find real talent. The power is to be respected and utilised intelligently. It is the audience which creates a celebrity, not the internet on its own.

14:08 Thomas Kurian: The face of fame is changing, we are seeing the era of ‘web celebs’. Celebrities used to be rich actors or musicians. But the internet has levelled the playing field.

14:08 Simran Vedvyas: Just doing crazy or really weird and strange things is enough to get you millions of hits and make you an overnight sensation.

14:10 Hajra Khatoon: Though some may achieve moderate success, some enjoy phenomenal success (read Justin Bieber).

14:10 Fatima Khan: Justin Bieber was panned by a certain section of audience, but his fan following is large. Also, no one so young has ever been nominated or won the awards he has. You can’t call that luck. It has to be talent.

14:13 Aisha Naseem: A thing or resource can be utilised or abused. It depends on your approach. [There was a lot] of red tape to get to agencies and get your talent recognised [earlier].

14:13 Fatima Khan: It is the audience’s lack of discernment, not the person’s lack of talent. The same can be said for the infinite “reality” shows. Are the winners always the really talented people? Yes, there are many who become internet celebrities. But for every 100 [online] starlets, you cannot forget that we are getting at least one real talent.

14:13 Aisha Naseem: The audience is changing hence what is classified as talent depends on who is listening or viewing it. You may call it lack of talent while another person can call it real talent. It is how you look at it.

14:17 Pooja Nair: Talent is not the only thing a person needs to come up, he needs to have the personality so that other people take notice of him.

14:17 Thomas Kurian: The positive side is that the internet is providing a platform for people who did not have a voice, but had the knowledge.

14:18 Shiuli Dutt: Who guarantees security and genuineness on the internet? The TV on the other hand is a legitimate and conventional platform, where one can showcase one’s own talent.

14:20 Aisha Naseem: Ms Dutt, nothing on TV has legitimacy – everything has a disclaimer.

14:20 Fatima Khan: The only security is one’s talent. Those who have it don’t exit easily. Those that don’t can never truly arrive.

14:21 Gulf News: Do you think the internet has finally given people a truly global platform?

14:22 Shiuli Dutt: Yes, but the anonymity of the Net makes it even more dubious a platform to display this so-called talent.

14:23 Simran Vedvyas: In today’s knowledge-based economy, talent is the most important natural resource. Nurturing the most worthy, diverse talent and giving talented people a chance is always good. Internet provides a platform, which is very encouraging.

14:23 Thomas Kurian: The way I see it is that it is easy to get 15 minutes of fame from the internet but you still need talent to be truly famous.

14:23 Sunil Roy: Internet has provided a platform that can be reached across nationalities, crossing many barriers. But the expectations – on account of that – are also higher. Living up to those expectations puts a big strain on the talents.

14:23 Hajra Khatoon: The internet has given a truly global platform. One can market their work across borders.

14:23 Priyanka Tandon: For example there is a kid, Greyson Chance, who played the piano and sang in his school’s talent contest. His video was so popular he eventually came on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

14:24 Aisha Naseem: Ms Shiuli, what makes a platform dubious is its usage and interpretation. You can’t term a thing bad because it has been used wrongly, and condemn it. You have to be careful with what you choose.

14:24 Fatima Khan: Many talented people, in the fear of rejection, never try anything at a big level. Anonymity makes it easier to overcome that fear. The media is a reflection of our thoughts. If the majority wants celebrities with looks to die for, the media will give us just that.

14:27 Sunil Roy: What is right is the big question. Since the audience interests are varied, almost everyone is finding some acceptance till the next talent sprouts.

14:28 Gulf News: Do you think people are not getting due credit for their work, because others presume they get too much help from the internet?

14:30 Simran Vedvyas: Like books help us increase our knowledge, similarly I feel internet is a large information bank and also sometimes gives valuable ideas, provided that they are used constructively. So, I disagree [with the statement]. On the contrary, I feel that when one puts his or her work or talent on the internet, they are faced with more competition.

14:30 Priyanka Tandon: Even if someone ‘Googles’ a recipe or the notes of a song it does not mean the person has the talent to cook the food well or play the song melodiously.

14:30 Thomas Kurian: It is not what others presume about your talent. If the person is genuine, acceptance in society is automatic.

14:31 Yesha Harish: In fact, the internet has been successfully used by people to find everything on the world’s servers. When people surf the Web, there are numerous things that can be found. Music, hobbies, news and more can be found and shared on the internet.

14:31 Sunil Roy: A delicacy prepared by my wife, even if she has Googled the recipe, needs appreciation because of the efforts involved. On the other hand, for writing a thesis a lot of physical and mental effort needs to be put in and that is much more than just Googling for information.

14:34 Shiuli Dutt: Mediocrity never had it so good and, thanks to the internet’s patronage, is flourishing like never before.

14:34 Gulf News: People are willing to put everything on the line as long as it makes them a celebrity.

14:35 Fatima Khan: Yes. Today participants in many shows go to any length to become famous or win the game.

14:35 Aisha Naseem: When you put everything on the line, it shows your determination and commitment. But what you put it for, can be interpreted [differently]. Putting everything on the line has different connotations. Whether you are determined to show your talent or just get your 15 minutes of fame remains to be seen.

14:30 Priyanka Tandon: What one person finds trash is another person’s treasure. So, the internet provides a variety of talents for everyone.

14:39 Sunil Roy: I am reminded of the famous lines in a poem by Thomas Gray where he says many flowers are born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness. To a large extent the internet has helped overcome this problem, especially for people who know how to use the medium well.