It started with Hampsterdance [sic]. Well, there may have been ones before it, but Hampsterdance will always be the first for me. Hampsterdance was the site that showed up on all the computers. Everyone who had Internet access knew about this site. They'd all smiled at the cute little animations, they'd all bobbed their heads to the catchy little song. It's the one web page that I knew everyone had seen at least once.

Of course if I found someone who hadn't seen it, I got to be the one to show them. "You mean you've never seen Hampsterdance? You've got to check it out." When you get to clue someone in about a cool site like this you get a cheap little moment of hipness.

The esoteric web site ended up getting its own catchy domain ( They even started selling their own brand of merchandise! A horde of takeoffs arose.. fishydance, Jesusdance and Pikachudance. A webring of these something-dance sites arose. The fad passed, and everyone went on with their lives. The phenomenon survived for several months. Nobody talks about it anymore.

And then the next Hampsterdance came along. All of a sudden everyone was talking about that cool Turkish Stud site. Mahir Cagri's corny web page catapulted the unsuspecting Turk into international stardom. Everyone knew the phrase "I KISS YOU!!". Somehow this new, simple site had captivated the people of the Internet. The requisite spoof sites, webrings and cheap merchandise eventually sprung up, and the phenomenon eventually died out.

There have been a handful of successors to the title once held by the dancing rodents. I've seen these sites come and go, and I can confidently look at a one and conclude that it's the next Hamspterdance...but the phenomenon is ominously speeing up. The citizens of the Internet are getting more and more efficient at spreading knowledge of Hampsterdances. The day after I discovered the Shockwave video for All Your Base Are Belong to Us, the phrase appeared on whiteboards at work. On the third day I spotted it on a flyer stapled to a telephone pole in Berkeley. It took a mere four days for my mother to email me about it! The backlash has already begun. After just a week, some consider quoting Zero Wing passé.

You must diligently search for the next Hampsterdance if you want to be the cool one that told your friends about it. Even then, the payoff is short-lived.