New star spotting site started in Park City: iFollo lets members share celebrity encounters.
Oct 21, 2009 (Park Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Oakley residents say they see Tom Hanks in town all the time. The Red Banjo Pizzeria says Michael J. Fox is a regular. During Sundance, everyone in town has a fighting chance to coincidentally sit next to their favorite star during a movie.
Park City resident Colin House thought it would be fun to share those experiences with others, and see what other normal people said about their own encounters with the same celebrity. He created the website iFollo.com.
Was an athlete a real jerk while ordering coffee? Check iFollo to see if other people have noticed him being a jerk. Maybe he was having a bad day, or maybe people should be aware of his bad attitude.
Did a movie star leave a gigantic tip? Check iFollo to see if you just did a great job or if the star is that nice to everyone.
Or what if no one is quiet as excited as you about running into Alex Trebek? Share it on iFollo where other Jeopardy! fans are eagerly awaiting news about their favorite television personality.
There are millions of celebrity magazines, both online and in print, House said. And they sensationalize everything.
"What you don't see is who these celebrities really are," he explained. "The whole premise here is turning power back to people and letting them write experiences with celebrities." The cool thing about iFollo, House said, is if you don't care about Britney Spear's kids, but you'd like to know what Tiger Woods is like in person, you can follow only Woods.
"It's not a news site. Just share experiences with people who share the same experience," he said.
What about people who believe in respecting the privacy of celebrities? House said he has respect for those people, and sympathizes with critics who say the Internet is turning everyone with a cell phone into paparazzi.
But it's human nature to want to walk up to a celebrity and start a conversation, and it's equally natural to want to tell the universe about it. This Web site just makes it easier to do that with other people who share the same interest.
And what will celebrities think about another spot on the Web where they're seen going into Walmart with their kids on a Saturday? House believes they'll appreciate the fact that experiences are shared and rated. Instead of more awkward photos appearing on a nationally-syndicated front cover, iFollo will give people a chance to defend the celebrity and what they're really like in person.
"The stories on the site show how grounded, how kind and simple they are, that they're human. If I was a celebrity, I'd find it a breath of fresh air," he said. "It shows they're balanced; they are real people." To see more of the Park Record, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.parkrecord.com. Copyright (c) 2009, Park Record, Park City, Utah Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email email@example.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.