09lucerne Lego Naboo Mini smaOr, how my twelve-year-old got featured in Wired, BoingBoing, and News.com, by purchasing a product and then doing the opposite of what it says on the instructions. It’s a lesson on how to make work that goes viral.

Some years ago I started a blog called Lego Hacker to document my children’s creative misuse of their toys. (They sensibly asked me not to reveal their names online.)

Star Wars Trek Lego Bird smaLego (or Legos, as we say in the US) would seem to be immune from misuse, because their entire point is to be reconfigured in various ways. Unfortunately, in the last decade Lego’s Hollywood tie-ins and increasingly customized bricks have actually discouraged some kids from re-building their sets. There’s not a lot I can think of to do with Commander Cody’s armored chaps except to re-create his scenes from Star Wars.

Star Trek Lego Mini Jupiter smaSo I was glad when my son started rebuilding Star Trek ships out of Star Wars kits, or making tiny replicas of full-sized sets. Even closer in spirit to hacking per se are constructions in which my children attached Lego bricks in ways that bend or break the rules of Lego creation–-like making an arched bridge from a sequence of deliberately misaligned pieces.

Evidently I wasn’t the only one who was glad, as this past week the Lego Hacker blog became the subject of a Wired.com story, which in turn was picked up by BoingBoing, News.com, and tweeted by the Science Channel (go figure).

Most of the 100+ reader comments from these stories were quite favorable–clearly the intersection of Lego, Star Wars, and Star Trek encompasses a sizable fandom. But I did take a beating from these readers at Australian News.com:

“Interesting to note that an associate professor isn’t aware that Legos is not the plural of Lego.”

“I think the article should have been about the family not having a TV. Isn’t that child abuse?”

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