The internet is the most dynamic landscape in the world. One minute you could be a nobody and the next a viral sensation. With the advent of social media and rapid exchange of information the next new thing can blossom into a universally known icon almost instantly. This is the story of how one man is becoming the next viral star; a YouTube sensation video gone viral.
Matthew Ferguson was just your average Joe. Teaching in the American Studies department while working as the Assistant Director of Student Life at Rutgers University, his alma mater, and running a Dave and Busters-esque soda bar for students, Matt Ferguson never expected to become famous. Between teaching undergraduates part time and studying for his graduate degree he decided to remove his 5-year-old beard in the most fun way he could think of: Shaving it off in parts while lipsyncing to Nicki Minaj for his friends to see on YouTube.
Ferguson’s background in video production goes back to his high school days. Working with owner of Dynasty Films and best friend, Brian Bennett, the pair have been making goofy videos together for years. During Bennett’s most recent trip to New Jersey, Ferguson’s home state, they made the magic happen.
After deciding to become bare-faced, a colleague asked him to do it in steps. Over the course of a week Ferguson would transition slowly from burly bearded to clean shaven. Not only would he surprise his colleagues but he would also be able to creatively sculpt his hair in many interesting ways. Rather than go through with that plan, he decided to accelerate this process to one night and work with Bennett to preserve this unique event for his friends to laugh at.
On Tuesday, February 7th at 11:30 PM, Ferguson and Bennett were sitting down in a diner discussing the idea. One hour later they were at work creating the video. After 5 hours of shooting and a few more hours of editing it was done. Mattstache was born. The clever nickname coined by Bennett was to be used as the title of the video. That’s when an internet icon was born.
The process of shaving through his beard took clippers, scissors, and razors. In fact, three razors were dulled during the hair removal process. With six different styles created within the 5 hour window, Ferguson was able to lipsync to David Guetta and Nicki Minaj’s Turn Me On. The song was chosen because it was relatively new and not overdone.
After a simple share on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, Ferguson’s video started spreading. Within one day it has been seen by over 320,000 people all over the world. “I think we’re well past friends and friends of friends,” says Ferguson. Besides word-of-mouth, it has been featured on CBS News and several blogs which has only increased publicity. In that short time it also has been featured on Reddit, mentioned on Twitter, and video responses to it have been made.
Ferguson does not know where this video will take him or how many people will see it. What he does know is the potential for a sequel is increasing. Inspired by the rapid publicity and now willed by his eagerness to be shown on Tosh.0 or tweeted by Nicki Minaj, Ferguson wants word to keep spreading.
So if you want to become a YouTube star, follow in the footsteps of Matthew Ferguson. Come up with a creative YouTube video and you just might have a chance.