Danger! High Voltage.

I’ve always found myself a tad confused when trying to compare junior, middle and high schools with their British equivalents. Once you start adding college and university to the mix I’m completely lost. You see, the ages you Americans progress through your schooling are slightly different to those in the UK. For example, college for us is the important bridge between high school finishing and university starting where you take your A-levels as an entrance requirement. It also covers the same years as the end of high school in America.

During my time at college (16-18) I was a member of the Students Union and we were fairly active. There was one occasion where the lecturers called a strike and we, as the student body, decided to support them, and the whole college – barring one or two – was totally empty with everybody picketing outside.

That particular day also coincided with a visit from the then government Education Secretary, Kenneth Baker. And if you had to sum him up then you’d probably describe him as a slug in a wig. A select group from the student union were allowed an audience with Ken for all of five minutes to ask him a series of pressing questions. I got to ask him something about the paltry sum of money assigned as “wages” to kids who decided not to go to college and learn a trade.

According to my buddy, I quickly turned an enraged shade of scarlet as his unsatisfactory answer managed to condescend and insult in equal measure. Apparently, I was edging closer and closer to Mr. Baker ready to spit my own brand of vitriol when my buddy put a hand on my shoulder and Ken’s handlers informed everybody the five minute question and anger session was over.

Thankfully, it was 1987 and nobody had invented the taser as yet.

The world is divided into two camps: those who believe Andrew Meyer deserved however many volts to the chest for acting like goon and those who believe it’s another example of America becoming a police state. Oh, and then you’ve got John Kerry who didn’t have a clue what was going on – allegedly. Although, I think you’d have to taser me to keep me awake during a John Kerry monologue.

“Don’t Tase Me, Bro-gate”, as nobody has even thought of calling it yet, is nothing if not a fantastic example of how quickly an idea can spread around the internet. In other words, we’re talking viral campaigns here. We’ve got an incident caught on camera that is immediately thrown up on Youtube and is viewed over a million times in 24 hours and referenced as the primary source by television news and news sites alike.

Then you’ve got thousands of people on Facebook affilliating themselves with groups that either support taserboy or not. All of them frantically whipping themselves into various frenzies.

Now you still might think I’m making a political point here, but I’m not. Just take a look at the the Google search results for Don’t Tase Me Bro.

Aside from the fact that you can find all the news, videos and other related information to Andrew Meyer’s little run in with the fuzz, you’ll notice that the pay-per-click results down the righthand side are showing quite a few advertisements for t-shirts and other things with with the phrase “Don’t Tase Me, Bro” plastered all over them.

There’s an entire online footprint and industry exploded around this one phrase barely a week after it was first squealed. And yes, you might be right in saying that all the fuss is over and done with. I’m not suggesting anybody has an opportunity to ride this bandwagon as the wheels fell off almost as soon as it got going.

As this article points out, it used to take an age and a day for this kind of thing to go mainstream, whereas now you only have to wait a few hours, if that. Then you’ve got your Internet savvy businesses and entrepreneurs all over it like a rash – they aren’t waiting to see how the market might be developing. It’s almost as if you ride the explosion as it happens.

You hardly have time to let the taser recharge before it’s time to print out another batch of t-shirts. And then you’ve got to keep abreast of what’s going on to make sure you don’t miss the next “Don’t Tase Me, Bro” cash cow.

And where do you think you’re going to find out about that?

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