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Nbc’s user generated accident

December 13, 2006

Conan O’Brien created a cultural meme for his late night show with a skit involving an FSU mascot, a manatee, dancing

As a throwaway line at the end of his skit, Conan told his audience they could find more content at hotmanate.com and thought nothing of it.

It wasn’t until the NBC standards people came knocking at his dressing room door after the show, and told him if NBC mentions an unknown and uncreated website on air, they have to create it.

So, for $159 NBC buys hornymanatee.com and a phenomenon is born, by accident.

The site does indeed feature manatee content, but also a flood of unexpected “creativity” unleashed from O’Brien’s audience, ranging from art, song lyrics and even poetry.

Over on cable’s Comedy Central, for the past 10 months, Stephen Colbert has been encouraging his audience to play games with his content, with green-screen contests, etc.

The networks have yet to join in, but perhaps O’Brien’s happy accident, will see more deliberate attempts by big media to generate audience participation for their shows.

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