Getting serious about collecting and preserving digital culture | Folklife Today
The best way to get a grip on what collections documenting internet culture and folklore would look like is to take a quick look at the initial list of sites we are collecting, or hoping to collect. By no means is this intended to be exhaustive, it’s really just a first step at collecting a slice of some of the records of digital culture.
So far we’ve received permission to crawl the following sites:
Equestria Daily is a major fan site for bronies, fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic from outside the shows original target demographic of young girls. The rather large and active communities of Bronies on the web have become a focus of a range of ethnographic work, for example.
Originally launched in 1999, Fark is a community website that allows members to comment on a daily batch of news articles and other items from various websites. Links are submitted by Fark members (collectively referred to as “Farkers”).
But I will use this moment to put up a reminder that the Know Your Meme staff and the people who shoot the episodes are two entirely different groups alltogether.
This episode does not represent the quality KYM is aiming for in its articles. We dislike this thing just as much as the next person. It is the unfortunate result of poor communication.
Qualifier: all I do nowadays is lurk in the KYM forums and db so I know nothing about why KYM episodes continue to be shot 3000 miles away from the staff. There may be a good reason for this. However…
In olden times, every KYMer who got on camera was also a part of the KYM community. They were co-authors on their scripts and did at least some of the research on the source entries themselves. It was the only way to make sure that the person talking about the thing actually knew what the thing was actually about.
Even with the above setup, we still had weekly All Staff meetings where we discussed and debated and fact checked every script being researched. And everyone who worked on the script was also present during the shoot and could raise a flag if something didn’t look or sound or feel legit.
And, of course, before a script was even written, all of the facts were vetted by the authors, editors, and contributors who were members of the subject community and who wrote the articles themselves.
This meant that our margin of error on episodes was as close to zero as we could get within reason.
The handful of times we ever got our facts wrong in an episode was usually because I alone would accidentally something or other during a last minute rewrite. In those few times, if I had just left it to the group, everything would have been okay.
As some of you may remember, last year we held the very first annual Memeys Awards honoring the best of internet music. This year, we’d like your nominations for YouTubers and internet musicians that deserve to be honored with this most prestigious award. Head on over to our forum thread to nominate your faves!
(PS: I know we’ve been dead but I promise we are coming back. Bigger, better, more awesome. XO!)
I really wanted to make a KYM manga series about Internet Scientists attempting to study ED, 4chan, ICHC, eBaums, etc. who would all appear as benevolent and malevolent monsters doing battle.
Members of the KYM community would appear as characters the scientists would encounter during the course of the story. Their dialogue would (unwittingly) be made up of lines they’d written as forum posts in the past.
The responsive web is one that abstracts what you have to say from how you say it. Take, for example, NPR’s recent move to an API driven content model. By moving to an API for providing content, NPR has been able to manage its collection of apps and sites in a consistent way. The only thing that changes is the presentation layer.
This is what the responsive web should be all about. Figuring out what it is you have to say, and letting how you say it be driven by that. Design is about meeting a need in a way that is visually pleasing, but also that works to meet the needs of the user.
Matthew is talking about design but there’s no reason why this shouldn’t apply to “content” as well.
I used to say that everything that came out of Know Your Meme was a product of what the community put into MemeDB. This was a philosophy that was understood and embodied by everyone who worked on the site and the show. (Content. Code. Community.)
To me, the KYM production bible (show conventions, tropes, edit guide) was the API for outputting MemeDB entries to video. Theoretically, we could hand the show API/bible over to any capable filmmaker who would be able to code and output an episode of their own.
We tried light experiments in this direction through the creation of KYM “Dispatches” but we never got to see the project all the way through:
I think there’s something to the idea of explicitly turning a TV show’s mythology into a database with an explicit set of methods and classes (API) for creators to build off of.
There will be a lot of missteps. And then one day, somebody will get it right and storytelling will feel brand new again.
There are language games, too. One, known as “Ermahgerd”, originated as a written representation of speech produced through an orthodontic retainer (of the sort which your correspondent, alas, used to wear). “Ermahgerd”, of course, means “oh my god”. Know Your Meme, a website which documents the origin and spread of memes on the Internet, reports further. The orthodontic retainer jokes aren’t new, as any teenager with braces might tell you, but its written representation is. As Know Your Meme points out in an informational video, “Ermahgerd” has become a language game akin to Pig Latin or Verlan, with those in the know—Redditors and other online denizens—producing and understanding their own unique brand of funny gobbledygook. The result is nearly incomprehensible, but the joke is apparent when the text is read phonetically. The Economist? Nope. The Erkernermerst? Yerp.
Know Your Meme mentioned in The Economist. Achievement unlocked.
The best KYM intros were the ones that alluded to the content of the episode without being explicit about it. They were designed so that if you didn’t know the meme, you’d go back to the intro, watch it again and go “oh yeah!”