How Viral Tumblr Sausage Gets Made: Law & Order & Food

Tumblr has occasionally been fruitful for writers looking to spin the germ of an idea into something viral, maybe even a book. However, the mercurial nature of the Web means few who go for it with their million-dollar Old People Sleeping On Trains Tumblr idea will ever see it morph into a dead tree version suitable for Grandma’s coffee table.

There are sometimes naturally-occurring viral Tumblrs, never intended by their creators for further, offline glory. Goofs or riffs that take off and quickly become a part of the Web’s pop culture Sargasso Sea, linked by every tent-pole blog and tech site. One big recent example: Law & Order & Food.

Law & Order & Food is a ridiculously simple idea: screen grabs from Law & Order (and its spin-offs, like Criminal Intent) made when a character was taking a drink or shoving a hoagie or bite of pizza  into his or her mouth. No commentary, just frozen moments from a show that ran for so long it practically merits its own cable channel.

Law & Order & Food grows on you with each new post–because it’s funny and also sometimes unexpectedly poignant–like this shot of the late, great Jerry Orbach, who played Lennie Briscoe, eating takeout Chinese. Read More

The Bad Kind of Viral

Embarrassing Viral Video of You Being Stupid in Public: Not a Violation of Your Privacy, Court Rules

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Remember the 2004 clip of that pompous DEA agent who shot himself in the thigh in front of a community center classroom? It was like an awful deleted scene from Breaking Bad meets a bloopers reel, or so the millions who watched it seemed to think. The DEA agent wasn’t so happy, especially with the gossipy agency he worked for, who passed the video around enough to go viral. He’s since sued the DEA for violating his privacy, by letting the video get out into the open. The result? Read More