We sometimes complain that fickle Internet fads drive our news coverage. But Caine's Arcade made the virtual front pages for all the right reasons. The phenomenon provides another example of how the Web 2.0 world informs media coverage – and better yet – inspires action.
“Caine’s Arcade” first popped up on my Facebook newsfeed on Monday, with endorsements like: “one of the most beautiful, incredible things I have seen in a long time. I cried my eyes out.”
I clicked and watched the 11-minute film, tears swamping my guarded cynicism as a 9-year-old boy created an arcade made from cardboard boxes in the front section of his father’s autoparts store in East LA – his very own small business.
Then I let out mental fist-pumps when hipster filmmaker Nirvan Mullick organized a flash mob to bring little Caine Monroy some customers. I tagged my own subsequent post of the film “Best. Thing. Ever.” Nuanced, right?
By the time something makes it to my Facebook newsfeed, I know I’m already a bit behind the 8-ball on a trend. I wondered how long it would take mainstream media – so driven by Internet trends – to pick up the story: Days? Hours? Is this the next Kony 2012?
By Thursday afternoon, most of my immediate family members had seen the video and exchanged gushing emails, texts, and Facebook mentions with comments like “restores my faith in humanity” and “evidence that God exists” (literally) and “reminds me of something we/you would have done as kids.”
On Thursday, too, the isolated corners of the Monitor’s newsroom were abuzz discussing “Caine’s Arcade.” Not the Fox mole writing for Gawker. Or Ann Romney the stay-at-home mom vs. Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen. Or charges against George Zimmerman. Or North Korea’s impending rocket launch. Or talks with Iran. By the afternoon, the Monitor’s National News editors were discussing the next “Caine’s Arcade” story angle.