Those of you who have stuck with me since the beginning might recall that around this time last year (almost to the day, wow), Schiff Happens rose to national prominence when I was featured in the New York Times as the world's foremost expert on defriending people on Facebook in exchange for a free Whopper sandwich from Burger King. Word of my fame eventually traveled across the pond to the UK, and towards the end of The Year That Was Naught, Schiff Happens took the next step toward world domination when I was interviewed about the same topic on camera by the BBC. You read that correctly - the freaking BBC! We international, baby!
Unfortunately, I managed to blog through the entire Rest Of '09 without mentioning this little nugget of awesomeness (Or, I should say, quarter-pounder of awesomeness. See what I did there?). It happened during the World Series, so I guess it got lost in the shuffle of me attending Game 2 for free and meeting Uncle Jesse. Makes sense, really. I mean...Stamos. Anyway, it turns out that throughout the last year, the BBC had been putting together a massive documentary project about the World Wide Web, looking back at 20 years of the Internet to try and express how it has dramatically changed our world and predict where it might be heading. Pretty intriguing stuff. The fourth episode of the series is all about how the Web has changed the nature of human interaction, and in their research the producers at the BBC had stumbled upon the Whopper Sacrifice and fallen in love with its subversive nature (as I had) as a case study in how we define friendship on the web. They contacted me via Facebook, naturally, and asked me if I would be willing to tell my Whopper story on camera, and ultimately be featured in the project. I can vividly recall Susanna Posnett, the Assistant Producer who first spoke to me about the show, telling me in her classic English accent, "My director told me to find a Whopper Guy and, well, you're my Whopper Guy." Now if that doesn't scream "You've made it," I don't know what does.
I was happy to oblige, and the rest, as we say around here, is history. About a week after that initial conversation, I was sitting in a midtown diner next to Dr. Aleks Krotoski, the host of the documentary, telling the tale that made Schiff Happens famous. A cameraman stood behind the diner counter and filmed us as we conversed, with matching plates of burgers and fries in front of us, about the utter hilarity inherent in deleting an online relationship with ten people you probably weren't even friends with in the first place for the equivalent of one-tenth of a fast food sandwich that you probably didn't even want to eat in the first place. It was an extremely fun and memorable experience, made even more rewarding by the high praise I received from Krotoski, Posnett, and director Molly Milton, who agreed that I was one of their favorite interviews of the entire series. To put that in perspective, these people traveled the globe interviewing all-time geniuses and Internet hall-of-famers including Bill Gates, Al Gore, Arianna Huffington, Stephen Fry, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tim Berners-Lee. Oh, you say you invented the World Wide Web? I'm sorry, I wasn't listening - I'm the Whopper Guy!
This is all to bring you up to speed and let you know that the series, titled "The Virtual Revolution," started last night with Episode 1: "The Great Leveling?" on BBC 2, and debuts at the end of February on BBC World. The series will be broadcast in the US, so all of you, my tens of adoring fans, will definitely be able to watch my leap from mere national fame to worldwide superstardom. Dates for American airings are still being sorted out, but I am in contact with the show's directors and will be sure to get that info to you as soon as it's available. They've also promised me DVD copies of the entire thing, so maybe we'll get a special Schiff Happens screening together. For now, check out the preview video below, follow the series on Twitter @BBCDigRev, and be sure to check out the program's official web site. It's chock full of interviews and source video and all kinds of great information on the series, and is in itself a must-see example of open source goodness for all you Internetty types. In fact, as incentive for you to see what it's all about, Schiff Happens will personally buy a free Whopper meal for the first person who can find me in the annals of the Virtual Revolution site. I promise, I'm there somewhere.
Until then, stay tuned right here. Schiff Happens, the global phenomenon coming soon to a burger joint near you.