You will never get a fan to care more about clothes, cars, shoes, or household products than they do about whether Sterek is going to happen on Teen Wolf.
The unspoken truth behind Yahoo’s much-touted bid to court Tumblr’s younger demographic is that for all intents and purposes, Tumblr culture is fandom culture. There are still plenty of other spaces where fandom exists, but we have never had such a megalithic and central social platform so visibly united under one umbrella. …
Even as Yahoo insists nothing will change, business analysts and media experts are speculating that the company intends to plumb Tumblr for its advertising potential. But if that’s the case, Yahoo should know that when you market to fandom, you have to adopt a whole new way of thinking about marketing, brand advertising, and consumer loyalty. [READ MORE]
(please read this article omg i have never wanted to *drop mic* until this day)
Aja’s post should be required reading for anyone doing brand management anywhere outside of Facebook. That said…
… this article is about some of the more evolutionarily mature fandoms and not the less organized ones. There are still plenty of ways that this can (and probably will) go wrong for those fan communities and for that bad behavior to infect other fandoms.
But there are also ways that this can (and hopefully will) go very very right.
The feels are sexual, but not merely or exclusively so. They are distinct from pre-internet emotions in that they are more like feelings for feelings’ sake. The internet, with its wealth of intangible content, is the feels’ native land; an internet crush is the feels personified. You can’t do anything about the feels except feel them, then maybe go look at some more pictures online. They are an appetite that does not expect to be sated, an intensity without any perceivable end.
Here’s what I consider the brilliant bit because it’s the part I believe in:
Intensity without an outlet is a dangerous thing; it is also sometimes where revolution comes from.
we have literally created our own dialogue? language? here on tumblr and i think that is the most amazing thing ever
please disregard my shitty editing skills
Every web community develops customs but not every web community develops a pidgin. Web pidgins usually emerge from a mix of isolation from authority (nobody is policing speech or grammar) and an unbounded sense of identity (people feel free to experiment with new and novel forms of communication.)
Most of the elements of Tumblr’s pidgin were developed and flourished elsewhere (LiveJournal, 4chan, slashdot, email, IM, MMOs, etc.) Once here, they mutated to better fit both the expanded space and new constraints of the platform (tumblr tags are longer than Twitter hashtags, emoticons became reaction gifs.) Eventually, their “important” features bared little resemblance to their predecessors and the resulting collection was seen to be Tumblr’s “own”.
So the question I’m interested in is: what happens from here?
As a user, my hope is that the culture continues inviting new language and behaviors and continues evolving.
But self-awareness (as seen in the screenshots above) sometimes leads to an urge to protect the culture that’s visible. And that protection easily devolves into elitism and power and authority (see Digg, reddit, 4chan).
And if that happens — if people can’t find isolation from authority and an unbounded sense of identity — they’ll move on.
Funny how that works.
A lot of the forms and styles we now attribute to other gifmakers, Ronen was doing in 08-09.
He also did a lot of early experimentation in using gifs as a medium for storytelling.
See also: http://all.ronenv.com/tagged/gif/chrono
2 Broke Girls - Memes (by hamad haroon)
Haha those are things I’ve seen before.
Did they fire Molly and hire a robot that generates jokes according to an algorithm designed to seamlessly incorporate breaking pop culture references into the dialogue? AWK-WARRRRD.
I have an idea for 9GAG’s next thing: an image macro browser that plays a laugh track as it loads each image.
In [Tricia] Wang’s theory, a network like Facebook, which enforces real name registration and consists of a person’s friends and family from time immemorial, encourages bounded use. It’s like the small town you never left, the grammar school class you couldn’t pass out of, the first dead-end job. It’s a network mired in past and present, and by its nature it enforces a limited sense of identity and expression.
By contrast, something like Tumblr encourages unbounded use. It allows you to experiment and play. It’s the big city, and each new tumblelog you create is like a new bar or neighborhood where you can try on a new self and see how it fits. In one instant you can be a pug lover, reblogging the best animated GIFs of the flat-faced dogs. In the next, you can dive deep into the Go Pro snowboarding community and post snaps from your latest run.
Hence Wang’s notion of the elastic self. Like rubber bands, when we step into Tumblr we can stretch and reshape ourselves into different configurations. Each new hat we try on stretches the rubber band just a little bit further, and over time it might evolve into a new configuration. This allows for remarkable opportunities to explore different potentials of self and self-expression.
Meme culture as the old guard knows it is dead. Memes themselves, in their new version of the word and new understanding, are flourishing and will for…well I’m not sure about that, but at least for awhile.
Evolution is a necessarily evil. I stand by the fact that the internet culture I grew up with is dead (no teenager now will ever understand America Online). I believe that a very small amount of people who participate in recent meme culture have a strong desire to understand where it came from. History doesn’t matter, history is not worth the same to younger participants. The social capital exists in the moment. It is fleeting and to gain it, you need to be there and see it unfold before it’s gone.
And memes are still a way to self-identify. Sure, more people are catching on to meme culture, but their grasp to it is limited. Sites and communities each have their own share of humor and interests. For example: Using the word “nigger” (no offense) is hilarious to 4chan, but Tumblr will most likely find it racist. What a person finds funny, and what interests him, shows how he identifies to the rest of the web and what website he likes. Just because the people you know disgust Advice Animals, doesn’t mean this is a mutual opinion shared by everyone. Things didn’t got big if there wasn’t a group of people out there who really like it.
Instead of becoming a way to seperate internet culture from IRL culture, memes have become more a way of seperating internet communities within that internet culture. And with a constant growing web like ours, that’s only a good thing, as it still allows us to self identify and show others where we belong. We are part of the same web, but we aren’t part of the same communities within that web.
Yes, WEIRD SITUATIONS happen with memes. I would cite WEEZER’S PORK AND BEANS VIDEO as the start of the panic I’ve noticed which I have never understood - people get very, very precious about things they see on the internet and assume that there is no bleed-through between online and real life. The internet used to be more exclusive in the ’90s than it is now, so to assume that memes would remain part of this “niche culture” is a bit preposterous, really.
I don’t want to call it “tumblr culture” because I think that sounds completely asinine for myself to be saying, but, as KENYATTA HAS POINTED OUT IN THE PAST, phrases like “the feels” have wormed their way into both general knowledge and offline speech. It’s language that is created, adapted, repeated, and spread…you know…
It should be noted that the ‘WEIRD SITUATIONS’ text linked to Richard The Cat.
The New isn’t dying. But being The New, it’s just not doing the same thing it was doing 5 years ago. (Four years ago, I was shooting gif street, nightlife, and portrait photography. Now Viacom and Calvin Klein do that.)
I see lots of cultural pioneers struggle with this, sitting idly and resentfully by while others make fortunes pipelining oil they prospected, then complaining once all the oil is gone.
This meme cycle occurs with music, clubs, visuals, fashion, personal relationships, philosophies, and, yes, it didn’t suddenly become LESS potent now that there happens to be a giant electronic meme cyclotron called the Internet.
This is a force of nature. It doesn’t mean revolutions all fail; this is, in fact, the means by which cultural evolution actually occurs. You can try to fight it, like stubbornly resisting evacuation warnings before a hurricane, or you can grab a surf board and make some waves.