The Internet is replete with sites that allow Web surfers to peek into the lives of average people doing all manner of things. But who among us could withstand that kind of scrutiny all of the time?
Justin Kan can, at least so far.
For two weeks now, the San Francisco man has broadcast his every movement on justin.tv, a new site that is attracting visitors in large numbers and interest among investors in the constantly involving medium.
Kan permits viewers to accompany him everywhere — in bed, on dates, even in the bathroom.
“I came up with the idea and I thought it would be really awesome to give people a live, online window into someone else's life,” Kan, 23, said during an appearance Monday on TODAY. “So far, people have been watching.”
Justin.tv is voyeurism to the extreme, a sort of TV’s “Big Brother,” the Internet’s YouTube and the motion picture “The Truman Show” rolled into one. Kan and three buddies who handle the technical and business side of the new venture claim a million page views in just two weeks of operation, an impressive statistic that is already getting noticed by venture capitalists and advertisers yearning for the next big thing.
Kan leaves a relatively dull life, but fans cannot get enough of it via the live feeds and the site’s blog. They spend hours in the site's chatrooms, discussing Kan's day and where they hope his exploits will take them in the future.
Kan's getting a lot of blind dates because of his new-found fame, but so far justin.tv has not gotten him — or his viewers — into any hot and heavy situations. Perhaps it is only a matter of time.
“I have never heard anything negative about putting the show out there,” Kan told the TODAY's Ann Curry. “I wouldn't have done it if I wasn't comfortable about giving people live video of what I'm doing 24/7.”
Well, Kan's not totally comfortable. He told the San Francisco Chronicle he is considering a block on his parents' computer IP addresses so they can't watch him acting “like an ass.” The Yale graduate and Seattle native dismissed Curry's suggestion that he will one day loathe the cameras that constantly chronicle his life, saying he believes the model he and his friends have developed might become the next Internet phenomenon.
“Is it about being misunderstood? Or is it that you see that there is a need out there for something that is honest and real?” Curry asked.
“I think it is the need,” Kan said. “We are trying to create a new genre of media and I think I am only the beginning of something that could be really popular. What we would like to do is branch out and do a lot of different shows about different people.”
Kan and his friends may see more fame and fortune in their near future, but there has already been a price to pay. He had to take his phone number off the site because of pranksters.
Some have ordered pizza deliveries to his home. One called police to report a stabbing in Kan's apartment.
— John Springer, TODAYshow.com contributor, and news reports