For Prom, Teens Let YouTube Do the Asking

Age-old rite of passage gets high-tech twist online.

ByABC News
April 14, 2010, 3:13 PM

April 15, 2010— -- Sweaty-palmed, tongue-tied teens take note: If you want to score a date to the prom, asking the simple question just might not cut it anymore.

Hallway conversations and handwritten notes might have worked for previous generations, but with prom season under way, high school students across the country are turning to YouTube to give an age-old rite of passage a new media moment of fame.

In February, a Colorado teenager made headlines when he invited a Maxim model to the prom via YouTube and she agreed. But he's not the only one to let YouTube do the asking.

Dozens of video invitations have appeared on the online video site over the past few months, wooing would-be prom dates with music, dance, animation and more, in very original -- and open -- ways.

When it came time to ask his girlfriend to the senior prom, 17-year-old Adrian Newcomb of Simi Valley, Calif., took a particularly creative approach. With help from a friend, he spent six hours stringing 625 digital photographs into an "underwater" stop-motion proposal video.

"The girl that I'm asking, she really likes sea horses," he said. "I wanted to somehow incorporate those into how I ask. I knew I couldn't get a real one so I figured I'd animate my own."

Using a light blue sheet as a background, he took a series of photos of himself pretending to swim through cut-out fish and other underwater decorations. Sea horses bearing the letters "P," "R," "O," and "M" cap off the homemade video.

After he made the video, he posted it to YouTube and then to her Facebook wall. Her answer? Yes.

Newcomb said he attends a magnet school for the arts and that every year students try to outdo their classmates' prom proposals.

"There's a bit of competition to see who comes up with the most creative idea," he said. "Everybody's trying to find the new way to ask."

Students at other schools say the appeal is in the storytelling.

"All of this is for fun. We just like being creative, and hearing the different ways people were asked to prom," said Jesse Sheehan, 18, a high school senior in Cheshire, Conn. One classmate sent a potential date on a scavenger hunt, another used candy to spell out "Prom?" on classroom desktops, he said.

His own story is sure to be a contender for best prom proposal. He posted a YouTube invite to a popular video blogger (who was, at the time, a virtual stranger) and succeeded in winning a "yes."