5 months ago 🔥 for day 255, 2019 with 430 words.

The Language of the Internet

"There is a post brewing in me, but it's still not time for the tea".

I love playing with internet language. There is a certain set of rules and building blocks of internet language you can mold your ideas around, and new blocks and rules are continuously being introduced by many different but interlocking subcultures, making it a fascinating fast-evolving system.

If you use internet language right, the resulting meaning is greater than the sum of the words making it.

A friend recently compared animated gifs and visual memes to kanjis, a.k.a. "a single elemeng serving as a visual representation of a larger concept" (think how 笑 is used to convey laughing, and how gifs added to tweets can convey many different types of laughing. Emojis are also used in similar ways of course).

[insert meme: "you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself reinvent pictographs"]

Personally, I'd argue that this idea of "representing a larger concept" is true beyond visual representation, and that the patterns in textual memes are also used as scaffold for larger-than-the-parts communication. Anything that is repeated over and over doesn't simply carry its literal meaning with it, but the cultural context surrounding its inception and evolution. 30-50 feral hogs are not actual feral hogs.

I don't know the extent in which I'm stating the obvious. In a way, I feel like I'm simply talking about what culture does to language.

[I just remembered to buy "Because Internet" so I can let experts guide my dive into this subject.]

Part of my fascination with the systems and rules of internet communication probably derives from my neurodivergent brain. I've only as recently as yesterday begun to accept the autistic label for myself, but there is definitely a safety malleable-yet-ruleful structures of communication like memes provide to people who struggle with understanding unspoken social norms. I truly believe there's more about my fascination with memes than them being fun.

As I explore internet language and autism more, I'd love to write about the relationship between the two concepts. I've been thinking a lot lately about what it is I want to write when I can write about so much. Writing is not about maximizing value, but if one wants to make such a consideration then there's definitely a lot to be found in talking about the particular intersections of divergent experiences and interests each one of us is not-necessarily-uniquely-but-uncommonly positioned at. As Dirk Gently says in the recent TV adaptation,

"everything is connected".


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By V


Chaotic Good. Software Engineer, Fandom Person & Other Random Things. Lover of memes, meme bots and boba. Full Stack Human. [she/her] #queeredge

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