Because I have been trying to decide what to do for my tactical media project, I have been spending far too much time looking at what other people have done. During my internet perusal, I stumbled across these hilarious letters exchanged between a former MIT graduate student, Jonah Peretti, and Nike.
These letters, where Peretti (pseudo) politely asks the anonymous Nike iD employee to monogram sweatshop onto his tennis shoes is not only funny but also has great social commentary. This social commentary is done through just a few emails, yet the effect is extraordinarily powerful. I feel that a message doesn’t have to be elaborate for it to be effective. Sometimes the most simple things, such as an exchange of a couple emails is effective enough to demonstrate a certain critical message.
I also find the anonymity of the Nike iD responder just as important to the social commentary as Peretti’s emails to the person. This anonymity further compacts Peretti’s point that Nike is such a corporate and monopolized organization that takes advantage of cheap labor in order to make themselves have a greater net worth.
Lastly, what I find especially interesting about this piece of tactical media was its use of electronic communication to create a viral effect. This email was spread little by little by forwarded emails until it became one of the most-viewed emails on the web. This speaks to the power of electronic media and its ability to communicate quickly and effectively, in all parts of the world. In fact, Peretti was highly aware of this fact and has since made quite a bit of money exploiting the power of the internet – for example, he is one of the founders of Huffington Post.