Doughnut for watering trees becomes massive story – three years after publication

waterboxx-2

My old haunts at Ingeniøren (The Engineer) in Denmark has seen some peculiar on-line traffic in recent weeks.

Each year, the company wrote about a series of inventions for what they described as a ‘product prize’ (you can say a lot about writing for engineers…and the first thing you can say is that they like their news precise and to the point). One of the nominated inventions was a doughnut-shaped contraption designed for watering trees in areas where they would usually be unable to grow.

The contraption is called Groasis Waterbox, and it seems to work pretty well. It’s the thing you can see above.

The story about this product really took off on Danish social media, facebook, twitter and a whole range of other places. You name it, and Danes were using it to talk about the Groasis Waterbox.

That is, in itself a good story of 21st century journalism where your articles can go viral and has made for some really good recent weeks for Ingeniøren’s website.

The strange thing in this case was that the story in question is more than three years old.

Now many people have opinions on, and do research about, why certain things take off while other’s don’t.

In this case, however, there really is no explanation forthcoming that I can think of….it’s an illustration of how the 21st century can, at times, be a very odd place for journalists and media, where writing stories can, at times, be likened to fishing….you’re engaged in an action that has a purpose, you have a method of doing it, but in the end you cannot decide or predict if you’re going to be catching anything – or for that matter when something like this happens:

shark shark

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