Pineapple-Apple-Pen and prejudice

How having fun on the internet with strangers you don’t know where they’re from can impact people from all around the world. And set world records.

Go fun yourself!

That was on purpose. That’s actually the tagline of one of the biggest worldwide communities.

9GAG, the user-generated entertainment content platform which the founder Ray Chan created in Hong Kong 2008 as a simplified way to share funny photos or videos online.

Nine years down the line, the site is so much more. It’s one of the catalysts for global social media trends. What started as a side project, is now a social platform where anonymous people from all over the globe can share their original content without ever disclosing where they are from.

Over 200 million people per month from different places around the world visits 9GAG through their desktops and mobile web and their Facebook page has amassed over 35.5 million likes.

They all have one thing in common: On 9GAG, it doesn’t matter where you are from. No prejudice, what matters is if your contribution is fun.

A voting system is in place to find the best contributions. Upvote if you like it, downvote if you don’t.

Nowadays, if what’s put on the site is high enough on the fun-scale, little amount of time will pass before it’s going completely viral.

An excellent example of this is the Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen song (PPAP) by the fictional character Pikotaro, also known as Kazuhiko Kosaka, a Japanese entertainer.

Yes, this is an extremely peculiar piece of content.

How on Earth did this song end up earning a spot in the Guinness World Record for shortest song on the Billboard Top 100?

It got popular on 9GAG, which later featured the video on its Facebook page. And it exploded.

Mr Chan, to e27 in late November 2016:

“This took a life of its own. That is the power of ‘fun’.”

The original video reached over 170 million people. As of now, the Facebook post has been viewed 71 million times, shared more than 1.2 million times, liked over 820 000 times and commented on over 550 000 times.

But what does this mean?

It means more than the video is funny.

It means that a global community had fun together, and shared it with the rest of the world to see (and laugh), through social media use.

This is a list of top five countries on 9gag by traffic as of March 2017:
  • Germany – 10,07%
  • United states – 5.45%
  • France – 4.78%
  • United Kingdom – 3.75%
  • Poland – 3.74%

In other words, people had fun on the internet with strangers they didn’t know where they were from, and impacted people from all around the world.

And what can we learn from this?

We can learn that global online communities can, without prejudice, come together, have fun and affect lives. Change lives, even.

I’ll use the same example again: Pikotaro, his life has forever changed because of 9gag.

He was recently awarded with a year’s worth of pineapples from Dole Food Co. How’s that for a life-changer?

And oh, he’s now also world famous because of the 9GAG community’s common interest: sharing fun.




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