Wednesday, January 31, 2007


A YouTube story two days in a row, my apologies, but this story was also covered by NPR.

Luke Johnson, a Phoenix resident, wants to see how many people will call his cell phone. So he posted a video on YouTube and started the ball rolling.

What gets my attention is that his story caught on to the point where NPR interviewed him and someone called during the interview. To date more than 11,000 people have called him.

This is an example of a simple idea, posting your phone number and seeing what happens, growing into something more. There are times when we are only limited by our imagination or fear of failing.

Luke demonstrates that an interesting story, even an off-the-wall story, can catch people’s imaginations in our world.


Andrew said...

I really don't know where to begin with this story that you've regurgitated.

Respectfully, I completely disagree that Luke's story is "interesting". To back-track, I feel that Luke's idea requires absolutely no imagination. In fact, it is probably a knee-jerk reaction to being rather bored. Imagine the conversation, perhaps over a case of Budweiser at a party:

Luke: "Dude, I bet you if I post my cell number on the internet, I can get 100,000 people to call it."

Luke's Friend: "No way. Who's gonna call your **** ***?"

Luke: "F-you, I'm doing it."

And so the story goes ... Yet another hair-brained idea conjured up by America's youth. I won't apologize for my cynicism, either.

When you say that his idea has " [grown] into something more." I can't help but wonder, "What more?" Beyond the obvious that he landed himself, an idea, and a well-timed phone call on NPR, what intrinsic value does this have for all parties involved? The sheer value of instant gratification, or fame? Or better yet, a slight spike in listeners for NPR? Great. Chalk one more win in the column for America.

Finally, I will be the first to admit that "interesting" can merely be illustrated in this context by the unknown number of citizens that bothered to turn up the volume on their stereos, and to some extent, my time being spent responding.

So, I ask that you — Mike — respond with your tale of interest. Why did you blog about this?

M_Fagans said...


I am not sure what nerve I touched Andrew, but I will try and defend myself none-the-less.

In the realm of user generated content, and I would draw your attention to the recent Super Bowl audience created ad campaigns specifically, Luke’s story is a fun little moment. Perhaps he is doing this to get our attention, both yours and mine, perhaps he really is doing this because he was curious to see what happened.

As much as I enjoy covering and reporting 'hard-news,' a steady diet of that can be too much. There is room in the newsroom for what we call 'brites;' fun little stories that highlight an interesting item. It is not meant to distract you from the news, but perhaps make you smile.

While I am cynical too, I do call myself a professional pessimist, I am also a realist and a human being. I’d like to smile during the day, I’d like to hear a story that captures my imagination, even for even a moment, I’d like to hear about people’s dreams ( even if they are silly and pointless - but isn’t that the point of art at times? ).

So, in the end, I’d rather read about Luke than Paris whats-her-name, that annoying right-wing pundit female pundit so-and-so or how politicians dance around the truth. I know the end of those stories before I read them; Luke’s is just a little different, and that can make all the difference.

Andrew said...

Yes! Mike responded to a response!

Without a doubt, listening to NPR – no matter how quirky the story – really brings a balance to my day — even if I come across the occasional "Luke stories."

I miss the Onion in print.


- Andrew