Pen spinning

The informant is California-born Chinese American. She is 21 years old, and she likes being caught up with new trends on mass media. She is currently a business student at USC.

pen spinning

(click the link above to see the informant’s pen spinning skills)

The informant first witnessed pen spinning from a friend in her middle school class. She was quickly mesmerized by the world of pen spinning, and she searched for more on internet. She could find a lot of skilled pen spinners especially on Youtube. She later found out there are several online communities on internet for pen spinners. The community she participated was called ‘Universal Pen Spinning Board.’ The spinners would share various tricks and teach each other how-to’s. They have established their own vocabularies such as ‘inverse twisted sonic,’ ‘TW sonic,’ ‘pass rev,’ etc. 

Starting from the easiest pen spinning move, the informant learned one by one. She said it was hard because she was learning it through internet, and there was no one to correct her. When she acquired few basic moves, she combined two of the moves to create a new move. She didn’t create it intentionally. It just came naturally, as she thoughtlessly exercised and modified some moves. According to the informant, pen spinning is a good way of relieving the boredom, and sometimes it helps her concentrate better. She does it in class, at home, and just anywhere she has a pen in her hand. It became her habit, so she finds herself spinning pens without even noticing.

Pen spinning developed more rapidly with an advent of internet. It is a good example of how internet has created many different groups, which develop traditions as years go by. Activities like pen spinning are not found very prominently, thus such internet groups are essential for the individuals to relate to others and keep developing the culture of pen spinning. New moves are continuously created on hands of many different individuals, both intentionally and unintentionally (variation and multiplication). 

For more pen spinning moves, see The Best of Pen Spinning World Cup 2012