Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard
jmaynard

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On being an Internet Phenomenon



When I created the TRON costume, I was only setting out to have fun. I enjoyed working on it, for the most part. There were frustrating moments when I couldn't make things do what I wanted them to, but I managed to deal with those. The result was acceptable, and the folks at the con loved it.

I was on top of the world. Then I started reading Slashdot.

The Slashdot commenters were savage, vicious, and brutal. They acted just like a bunch of 9th-graders putting down the new geeky kid in class. Of the 320 comments on the story right now, less than 20 are in any sense positive.

It got worse. Someone posted the story to Fark. Several someones. Lots of soemones. The Fark kiddies had their fun; the only difference was that it was a bunch of 7th-graders: even more juvenile.

The two were enough to start the story spreading around the net rapidly. By the next day, everyone with a blog and nothing better to do had reposted the link to the page. I was really happy I'd put it up at ibiblio.org (run by the folks who maintain a really huge software archive, and have tons of bandwidth); my little 512K DSL would have cratered under the load.

I started getting supportive emails Monday evening, and by the time I posted this LJ entry on Tuesday, folks I cared about (and a growing number of folks I never met before) were telling me that I'd done a great job and not to let the kiddies get me down. A nice email from Steve Jackson (I'd sent him thanks for his nice words in his con report) helped quite a bit, too.

What really started making me feel better was the support of good friends, folks who know me as I really am. Nor far behind, though, were the requests for interviews. The story spread even unto the real world news media. I got requests for interviews, first from Stuff Magazine, then the hosts of CZARADIO, a program on a college radio station in the Philadelphia area...then from the Don and Mike radio show, syndicated from Washington, DC. I even got a contact from a TV show, wanting a demo tape. (I'm not sure if I'll do that one, or if it'll be accepted; if it is, and if I do it, you can bet your ass I'll post here.) I was naturally suspicious of their motives, but even so, the attention was flattering.

I had to make a business trip to Newark Wednesday. The Slashdot and Fark stuff slacked off, and the support kept coming. I picked up a copy of Stuff, and decided to go ahead with the story there. I'll be taking pictures later this weekend to send in. (They can't use the pictures on the costume page, as they're too low resolution. I no longer have the high-res versions of the ones I took, and can't give them the pictures from Penguicon because the con owns the copyrights.)

The interview with CZARADIO Thursday night went well. We talked about how I'd gotten the idea, and how I'd made the costume, and the reactions I'd gotten, for almost 30 minutes. They didn't get snarky with me at all, which was a bit of a surprise for a college radio show, but I'll take it.

I flew back Friday. The interview with Don and Mike was scheduled for 3:10 Friday afternoon, and my flight arrived in Minneapolis at 2:00. This led to a bit of scrambling, but I made it - and then sat around for about 20 minutes past the scheduled start time, until they called me. I've since gotten a MP3 of the show as broadcast; they were slamming me big-time before and after, and I caught one comment from Don later in the show where he read my comment about accuracy and the cup issue and got a good laugh out of it, but the actual interview went pretty well from my point of view: they tried to get me flustered, or upset, and I refused. I'd decided before ever agreeing to the interview that I'd just calmly give them straight answers to whatever they asked, and I'm not sure they were ready for that. It was an interesting time.

This morning, the costume page was Something Awful's Awful Link of the Day. They'd read my LJ, because they linked to it and pointed out my emotions had been bruised by the treatment other sites had handed me. I'd anticipated this, and my journal has always been set to disallow anonymous comments (thus defeating most SA forum goons); when the furor started, I also set it to screen comments made by folks not in my friends list. I do read frequently, and will unscreen just about anything people say as long as it's not just more juvenile bullying.

My 15 minutes of fame aren't quite up yet, especially if the TV appearance goes forward. I've come to the conclusion, though, that whether or not I intended it, whether or not I wanted it, whether or not I still want it, there's not a lot I can do about it. I'm an Internet Phenomenon. I'm on the tiger; I might as well grab his ears and enjoy the ride.

Would I do it again, knowing what I know now? Yes. Would I post to Slashdot about it (which is what started the whole phenomenon business)? Hell no!
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  • Someone should print this poster

    In case you can't read it, it says: VINDICATION: When the loudest critic of your policies achieves his greatest success because of them. (hat…

  • Took him long enough...

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