Looking back over the events of last week’s ROFLcon, the overarching theme seemed to be a concern for the future of Internet meme culture. At ROFLcon II two years ago, we were all concerned about the extent to which the internet was leaking. Today, with Keyboard Cat hawking pistachios on the teevee and Stephen Colbert referencing Anonymous, it’s clear that the ROFLsphere is going the way of Punk and Hip Hop. That is to say, it’s here to stay, but most of what you see has gone pop. But keep in mind, there are still good indie acts out there too!
So, in this post, I’ll briefly recount some of the better points made at various panels I attended.
“People don’t like to feel prompted. They feel it’s inauthentic” said the Berkman Center’s Jonathan Zittrain, in reference to that time The Oatmeal tried to incentivize the use of a new Rage Comic face through a contest.
This was paraphrased succinctly in the following tweet.
The same point came up again during “From Microfame to NanoFame” regarding the popularity of Huh Guy, a Rage Comic face derived from an AT&T commercial.
At the same time, many Redditors were suspicious of astroturfing.
omfgdogs.com is pretty much the best thing ever.
What happens at ROFLcon DOES NOT stay at ROFLcon. Accountability, folks.
The best part about a good meme is when you can learn something about society from it, not just make a buck. Latoya Peterson’s analysis of the Shit ___ Say meme is incredible and thought-provoking.
In case you didn’t already know, you should listen to pretty much everything Biella Coleman has to say about Anonymous.
4chan founder Chris Poole basically says that Facebook killed the message board star. I couldn’t agree more.
If you want to know where trolls come from, it has a whole lot to do with what plays well in the tabloids and the nightly news, and the roots of rhetoric in the western tradition.
Even when you think you’re doing right by everyone, some people just hate to see you support yourself if you work on the Internet.
And lastly, as the Concurrent Metamemes and Know Your Meme panels taught me, it is impossible to be in two places at once.