Celebrating Penn on the Web

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Class of ’96 | The best way to get a sense of Dueling Tampons—Matt Rosler C’96’s multi-media website devoted to Penn and the artistic and entertainment achievements of its students and alumni—is to stop reading this and go to duelingtampons.com and check it out. (For those who might be put off by the name, rest assured that it was inspired by a work of art: “The Covenant,” the heroic-size tubular red statue that dominates the central plaza of Superblock. Students have been referring to it by that puckish moniker since it was built 33 years ago.)

Dueling Tampons evolved out of Pennfest, the Los Angeles-based talent show that Rosler founded seven years ago to celebrate emerging Penn talent in film and live music. “I realized that instead of just celebrating our alumni in one night, we should celebrate one another every day,” he notes on the website. The result is a cheerfully cluttered grab-bag of news, videos, photos, and links from various Penn people, networks, and resources—clips by Penn filmmakers, books by Penn authors, photos and videos of Penn events and goings-on … Or, in his words: “a hub for anyone related to Penn, who like me, (1) wants to know what’s going on in the Penn world and (2) wants to be entertained in doing so.”

“Everyone has a story,” Rosler says. “Every Quaker has an extraordinary story. And I decided to start telling them. It was natural. So many fellow Penn grads became accustomed to calling or emailing me to get information about another alum or undergrad that it became overwhelming. Having run the Penn Club in Los Angeles for two years and launching Pennfest, people know me.”

His love affair with Penn borders on the all-consuming. (We didn’t even ask him how much time he devotes to the website, but we know it’s a lot.)

“I’m the guy who loved opening my acceptance letter, loved every single day of campus life, and love walking the walk, so much so that I created a virtual way to do it for the entire Penn community,” he says. “I never imagined that DuelingTampons.com would have turned a love of Penn from a hobby into a web hit for both undergrads and alumni.” Its popularity with current students—not just alumni—was a pleasant surprise to him, he admits. “But the real surprise came recently when I realized people from the prospective class of 2012 are logging on.”

Rosler, who has done some scriptwriting for TV (among other things) but is making a name for himself as a web producer (he launched The Apprentice TV website on Yahoo.com), is clearly entranced by the seemingly unlimited possibilities of the Internet. The “perfect marriage of Hollywood traditional media with today’s new media,” he says, “has turned out to be my most valued skill set. “The web has captured my heart,” he adds. “It’s what is now and next. Without name-dropping, Hollywood hotshots are tapping my knowledge bank to try to sink their teeth into the trends I have learned to spot from my unique position.”


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