Found about it through some ad on flash games website in 2009 back when it was free, but never really got into it. I went back to playing it when I found about it through my cousin in late 2010/early 2011 right when 1.8.1 Beta came out. Can't remember exactly when that version came out :P.
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i was watching ias suggestions how to make traps in MC and stuff and wondered what was the game a bout, then some guy showcased a rollercoaster (it was actually a really long rail) seeing the landscape and decided to try it out
a friend was visiting, they were playing it on their laptop and i thought it looked cool. from there, i got pocket edition lite (there used to be a free version of pocket edition called pocket edition lite) then the regular pocket edition, and finally i got the pc version and the rest is history. i've now been playing for 4-5 years or so.
I heard about it from people playing Dwarf Fortress.
I then heard about it from time to time, for a couple years. For example, since I was a big fan of The Late Show with Craig Ferguson, I saw him interview Notch. And one time, my nephew tried to show it to me, but he was too young to understand himself, so it didn't look that interesting.
What eventually got me interested was a noob let's play by Gopher. I had been watching his Skyrim let's play videos, because he's very entertaining, and then he started a Minecraft series.
I heard about it from a friend back in, like, 2010, initially I hated the game because of the graphics but eventually I started playing too. First version I played was 1.2.1 I think, and I kept playing the game until 1.7 came out, at which point I stopped playing and moved on to other games. Recently I've started playing again though as my cousin got the game too so we play together in a LAN world.
This was 4 years ago. My first exposure was via youtube (a guy was building a grandfather clock; I was obsessed with those), but I didn't watch very much of it. Then my sister got me to watch a video about this guy called Stampylonghead playing it, and that got me interested.
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I didn't fail. I just found another way to do it wrong.
I learned about Minecraft from the news media years ago because it was so popular. I was curious about it so I watched a YouTube video. I was not at all impressed. The game was low resolution and everything was made of blocks. It looked very primitive to me.
Early this year my grandson (7) asked me to play Minecraft with him on the iPad. I wasn't very happy about it but it was so much fun that I got the PC Java version as well and now play by myself in the evening. I love it!