Quoth the Raven
Some ramblings on my experiences with public relations

A Lesson in the Power of the Information Superhighway

First, watch this really important video that will really change your ideas about the Internet.

Then, scroll down.

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You’ve just been rickrolled!

For those who aren’t familiar with his flash-in-the-pan career, Rick Astley was a two-hit wonder from the 80s who disappeared from the radar shortly after the release of the song you just heard. I’m a huge 80s music fanatic, a taste I acquired from my father. (A blessing or a curse? You decide. ) He’s been playing Rick in the house since I was little, so when someone explained this phenomenon to me, I thought it was both hilarious and exceedingly bizarre.

Why Rick Astley? I’m really not sure. But according to Wikipedia, the fad of rickrolling is a variant of “duckrolling”, in which a link to a popular news items, often one involving celebrity, instead links to a picture of a duck with wheels. But when you rickroll someone, you give them a link that seems relevant to the topic at hand, but instead leads them to Astley’s video. There are differing accounts of how it started, but the most common one I’ve heard is that it started on 4chan, when someone claimed to have a link to a long-awaited videogame preview. Scientology has also been a particular target of potential rickrollers.

Apparently the rickrolling phenomenon has been going on for awhile now, but has just recently started to hit the mainsteam. It almost certainly did today, when Youtube hyperlinked every one of the day’s featured videos to Astley’s video as an April Fool’s Joke. Responses ranged from “Ugh, rickrolled… AGAIN” to “I wanted to see the bunny eating the banana!”

Since rickrolling started last May, one version of the song on Youtube has been viewed almost 6 million times, and I’m betting a significant number of those were today (and that very few were intentional). Now even my dad knows what a rickroll is – all because of a little April Fool’s joke.

And how does Astley feel about this? According to Wikipedia, he’s somewhat tickled:

In a March 2008 interview, Astley said that he found the rickrolling of Scientology to be “hilarious”; he also said that he will not try to capitalize on the rickroll phenomenon with a new recording or remix of his own, but that he’d be happy to have other artists remix it. Overall, Astley is fine with the phenomenon, although he finds it a little “bizarre” and only hopes that his daughter receives no embarrassment over it.

Dance on, Rick. Dance on.

Rick Astley

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One Response to “A Lesson in the Power of the Information Superhighway”

  1. Never Gonna Give You Up is the jam of jams! I RickRoll myself every day.

    P.S. Best comment ever.


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