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Continued: Digital Life: Getting rich with a viral video – or not

  • Article by: ERIK LACITIS , Seattle Times
  • Last update: March 19, 2013 - 6:01 PM

He did sell a few Bitter Barista T-shirts and mugs, “But I didn’t push that very hard.” The “tip jar” on his website got $200, he says.

He also raised $8,500 on to print a hardcover book of photos and Bitter Barista sayings. After costs, Watson figures he’ll earn $3,000. Nice, but not exactly riches.

All of which means that starting about two weeks ago, Watson began working 30 hours a week, starting at 5:30 in the morning, at a new coffee place. It’s owned by a customer he knew at All City Coffee.

Watson, who has a second life as a hip-hop artist, prefers not to name his new place of employment, just to keep things low-key and not again be outed.

Still, he says, “No regrets. This has really been fun.”

At least, says Watson, with post-Bitter Barista fame, now something like 60 to 70 percent of people open the e-mails he sends out about his music, when it only used to be 20 percent.

As for Jonathan Carollo, his dad made a second YouTube video of him banging on a washing machine. “Whirled Beat: Part II,” posted on Jan. 25. It hasn’t quite had the same success, with about 8,400 views recently. Jonathan plans to use part of his $400 in YouTube earnings to buy a radio-controlled model airplane.

As for Will Braden, he has this advice for those of you wanting that YouTube hit:

“Don’t try to copy something. It should be unique. Otherwise it’ll get lost in the noise of thousands of people. My biggest piece of advice is keep it short. The video should be half as long as you think it should be.

“All of the Henri videos are like two minutes long. Get in, tell the joke and get out. It’s like an after-dinner mint.”

Which you could say describes lots of content in the digital age.

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  • Matt Watson, pictured February 11, 2013, lost his job at All City Coffee in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, after launching his Bitter Barista blog. He now works at a different coffee place. (Ken Lambert/Seattle Times/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1136192 ORG XMIT: MIN1303182307311597

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