Amanda Congdon, the former co-producer and host of Rocketboom, a popular video blog, left the site this week after a dispute with producer-director Andrew Baron. The news of Congdon's departure which she announced, in Star Joneslike fashion, in her own vlog has set the blogosphere abuzz. Now Rocketboom fans are watching the first video blog from her replacement, former MTV Europe News VJ Joanne Colan. TIME's Catherine Sharick talked with Congdon about her feud and her future:
Your departure from Rocketboom has thrust you even further into the spotlight than you were before. How are you handling this?
This wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to stay with Rocketboom, but Andrew pushed me out of the company. On July 4, he gave me an ultimatum. [He said] I could be the face of the company, not an equal partner. He fired me.
One of your readers on your Unboomed blog asked when you and Andrew are going to appear on Jerry Springer. Is it really that bad?
[Laughs.] I don't think we'll be doing that anytime soon, but our relationship is clearly pretty bad.
What do you think of your new replacement? Have you watched the video?
It looks like she'll be a great new face. Best wishes to both Andrew and Joanne.
It's been reported that you're moving to L.A. When will you move out there?
I'd like to move out west, but I can't just move without having anything set up. I'm living in Connecticut with my parents right now. I need a job, and the offers are flooding in. I'm going through over 2,000 e-mails.
Are you going to stay in the blogosphere, or are you going to make the jump to mainstream media?
Both new-media companies and mainstream-media players have been contacting me. If I can find a way to work with old media that is new-media style, I'd do it. I think there's a future in bridging the gap between the Internet and old media. I've been approached for everything.
On Tuesday, there was a post on Rocketboom.com announcing some troubles with producing their first video since you left. And there was this comment from Andrew Baron: "If you ever looked to the archives, you may have noticed that there is one episode that has always been missing: the first episode. There is a reason why." What was wrong with the first episode?
I think that he was saying that I sucked in the first episode, and that he is having trouble getting the videos produced right now. I did suck in the first episode and I guess we removed the video from the archives.
What do you think the future will be for the video blog? What will it affect next? The elections, perhaps?
Candidates are definitely going to harness the power of the video blog. We've already seen that on Rocketboom with John Edwards, and more is sure to come in the fall and definitely by 2008.
There's a lot of talk about how attractive you are. Does this bother you? Or is it something flattering that comes with the territory?
People have always thought that Rocketboom had a purely male audience. But I am in touch with my fan base, and a lot of the people who e-mail me are women. And a lot of the women say that they can relate to me. My fans are my best friends. I use ideas that they send me and credit them in my vlogs.
I feel like a lot of the reports over the past few days have been very sexist just referring to my popularity as Amanda and her [male] fans. But it's not always just the guys who write to me. I'm not perfect, but I have a lot more to offer than my looks.
What's it like to go through a feud that plays out in the blogosphere?
I feel like some of the blogs are enjoying the fiction of this saga rather than the truth. For example, I have been working with Endeavor, a talent agency, since early May, but it is more interesting to say that I signed with them last week. I've corrected some of the bloggers, but no one has updated their posts.
Your résumé lists your accomplishments at Rocketboom, a spot on TV's CSI, etc. It also says that one of your skills is hula-hooping. Can you explain?
I'm just really, really good at it. I can do 1,000-plus hula hoops in a row. I'm not kidding. I can count them. I have hula-hooped on Rocketboom before. Maybe I should update my résumé soon, though, and take that out.