WebVisions: Starwars kid is your new bicycle

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Andy Baio

Trip back to 1996 (Mr T ate my balls website). Creator just thought it was funny at the time. Linked to yahoo, that at the time had a list of 300 “ate my balls” pages”

New kind of ingenious stupidity – welcome to the meme.

Not a huge leap to this!

18M Americans have now been RickRolled.

Other Mentionables

  • Tourist guy
  • Hamster dance
  • Badger badger
  • Lolcats
  • Peanut butter jelly time
  • All your base


Out of contect and by themselfs they make no sence.

Together they tell alot about community.

Meme – Dawkins (the selfish gene)

Predate the intenet (andre has a posse)

3 characteristics

  • fadelity (must be reporducable)
  • Fecundity (esialy creatible)
  • Longevity ( able to stay around)


Remixable – meme is the new folklore.


Why to people creat, propigate and remix?

We may have no choice – very powerful or gets stuck in our head like an earwig.


  • Commercial (viral ads)
  • Activism (obama girl, peta, jibjab)
  • Self expression! (respect, freshness fetish)

StarWars Kid

led him to post star wars kid on his site (waxy.org) in 2003. Coined term “starwarskid” (file name). At that time it had only been posted twice before.

Has now been viewed 900m – not all on his site of course. But his hits spiked. Over a million hits in one day. 500,000 downloads in a day. Interesting to see that most traffic did not have a referrer (people passing link from email). Took weeks for the media to pick it up.

Identified kid and – did interview. He didn’t seem to mind much.

Then people started getting vindictive…

they decided to have a fund raiser and raised over $40,000 $4,300 for him to buy an iPod.

Barack Obama is your new bicycle

Simple but interesting site. Posted it on twitter. Jumped to 500,000 page views the next day. Spread instantly.

Most traffic from social networks.

Remixes began immediately.

Media picked it up 2 days latter.

What Changed?

  • New tech (no need to post and host yourself).
  • Media is now watching.
  • Lots of memes. Twice the people on the internet.
  • Lots of mixing. With new tech remixing is easy. (makes contribution easy)
  • Even the silliest meme become part of the shared experience.

Just this morning:

Wezer’s new single Pork and beans.




a great ending for a great presentation!

3 Responses to “WebVisions: Starwars kid is your new bicycle”

  1. Andy Baio Says:

    Heh, not $40,000. It was $4,300.

  2. gabrielm Says:

    Thanks Andy, I swear I heard you say forty-something-thousand … but still more then enough for an iPod.

    Once again, a great presentation. Thanks for being part of WebVisions.

  3. Andy Baio Says:

    Thanks! I had a great time.

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