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Contagious media: Wikis


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Contagious media is a term coined by Jonah Peretti describing how websites and email media get disseminated via the "Bored at work network". Peretti originally began the study of internet dissemination after an event in which he tried ordering personalised Nike shoes with the word "sweatshop" on them. The request was denied by Nike, and Peretti posted the email exchange on the Internet;[1] it soon became a popular Internet fad, and eventual appeared on The Today Show, ABC News, Adbusters, The Guardian and The Independent. He claimed "The work starts small and spreads virally to millions of people without any promotions, advertisements, or press releases. In the end, the mass media picks up the story as a trend, and the work is able to permeate the culture at multiple levels. "


Contagious Media Showdown

In an attempt to further study this phenomenon, Peretti created the Contagious Media Showdown in May 2005. The contest was the attempt to make the most visited website using the "Bored at work network". The winners were: Forget Me Not Panties, Crying While Eating, Blogebrity, and Ringtone Dancer.

Forget-Me-Not Panties

Forget-Me-Not Panties is a site claiming to sell mock women's underwear that have GPS locators to keep track of unfaithful partners. The site claims to be constantly sold out. It "appeals to gadget-crazed Japanese and jealous males while angering feminists."[2] The site was created by the Panty raiders.

Crying while eating

Crying While Eating is a website featuring voluntarily submitted QuickTime videos of people crying while they eat something. The site was created by Casimir Nozkowski and Daniel Engber. Upon creation, the "tipping point" occurred even while the site had only 12 videos by Engber and his friends. The site got picked up by BoingBoing and Metafilter, and attracted 50,000 visitors during its first 48 hours.[3]

The creators described the site's goals:

We made a simple, utilitarian site that showcased video adhering to two principles: make people laugh and/or make people vaguely uncomfortable[4]

Videos from the site have been displayed in New York art galleries. The creators of the site have been offered "thousands of dollars"[5] for use of the videos in some long distance commercials. The site was mentioned on VH1, Entertainment Weekly, and in the Ottawa Citizen and Toronto Star newspapers[6]. The theme of the site has also been compared to that of Sorry Everybody. [7]

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