Now, it’s not weird to turn on Ellen or Jimmy Kimmel and see an internet celebrity as a guest—never forget that the world’s preeminent wee egg-delinquent swag daemon, Justin Bieber, got his start on YouTube. But when Jennicam went mainstream, it was an almost radically new idea, an experiment in living life out in the open. There were a few different webcams that preceded her, including the Coffee Pot Cam , but Jennicam was the first to feature a real person, and so she was the first to experience the highs and lows of living in a camera-rigged fishbowl.

“This, to me, is like the perfect idea for the internet,” Letterman tells Ringley in their interview, right after he tells her he doesn’t really care about it. Letterman wasn’t wrong. Lifestreaming services like Meercat, Periscope, and YouNow are gaining traction. Mobile devices mean cam girls and boys aren’t confined to their dorm rooms. Even though she now avoids the internet-based lifestyle she helped pioneer, people haven’t lost interest in Ringley’s idea of living life online.

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