Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 In Review

This is my 52nd blog post on the Internet. I have regaled you, my captivated audience, for 52 weeks this Monday.

Oh boy, a meta-post!

Having blogged now for a full year, I'm ready to take a break on this project in order to focus on other things. So this is the last post that I'll be making on this blog (or at least, the last one on the usual once-a-week schedule).

I'd like to take this post as an opportunity to reflect on the past years' writings, where we started, and where we are now.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Widening Epicenters

Online culture is a fascinating thing. I've talked about it a lot, pointing out individual community behavior, the sizes and lifespans of online communities, community regulation, and community leadership. But now I want to ask a broader question: How has online culture changed over time?

Different question from the center of the Internet or the end of the Internet. (Image source here)

Once upon a time, I once drew a line between "old" and "new" internet culture, with Anonymous as the border between the two. 4chan used to be considered the epicenter of online culture on the Internet. Nowadays, that title might go to Reddit.

But that's just me talking about anecdotes. Can we demonstrate that there is such a thing as online epicenters? Where is it? Where has that title drifted to over the course of the Internet?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Left to Obscurity

The other day, I read an article about libertarians, the Internet, and how they're affecting leftist politics. For a moment, I was thrilled - someone else on the Internet was as upset about Internet libertarians as I am! And then my friends started pointing out that the article wasn't very well-written, and my elation faded away.

Aw. Dead end.

Still, there's a talking point inspired from this article that is definitely worth addressing. Where are the Leftists in the age of the Internet? And how has the seemingly dominant ideology of the Internet affected Leftism?

Here's a long, scatterbrained, and probably off-point diagnosis on the state of leftist thought on the Internet, and what might possibly improve it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Eastern Connection

When people first start hearing about the "depths of the Internet", they inevitably start hearing about 4chan. 4chan has recently passed its tenth birthday, and is one of the biggest social hubs that exists on the Internet.

And then some!

However, the website's concept was never original. 4chan's founder borrowed the website's format and style from 2channel, an imageboard in Japan. 2channel is just as big in Japan as 4chan is in America, if not even bigger.

As it turns out, we can trace a lot of online phenomena to the Far East - particularly Japan and South Korea, who have been functional on the Internet for as long as the West has. Today, we'll explore how Japan and South Korea have impacted our online culture, and how the tide for cultural dominance may be shifting in the coming decade.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reddit, Online Hubs, and Street Gangs

Yes, yes, sensational title. Today's thesis is completely crazy and unlikely to actually be correct. But hey, I thought it might be interesting. Of course, this post's written mainly from an American perspective.

Reddit has a multifaceted reputation. As one of the most popular websites on the Internet, the online hub has earned a name for itself as a place where you can find funny pictures, personal insights from celebrities, and atheists. Lots of atheists. As we've also seen, however, it has its seedy underbelly, harboring MRAs, racists, and literal pedophiles.

The things that lurk behind that friendly gaze...

We can praise or condemn the site as much as we want. Reddit's existence, for better or for worse, has overtaken the role of the traditional internet forum. Sure, social media has played a role in the decline of online forums in general, but Reddit is easily the most forum-like of the big sites today. Reddit's features make a lot of smaller forums redundant, and over time, forums have been dying out.

What can we learn from this? Let's go way out into left field and talk about street gangs.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Race and the Internet

Let's talk about race.

Well, this'll be good.

The Internet is an arena where we are disconnected from defining physical characteristics. Things like race, gender, and other personal traits are only a part of your online identity if you want them to be. But of course, race still matters online despite being invisible.

How has the Internet impacted racial identity? How does race emerge on the Internet? As someone who couldn't possibly do the subject adequate justice, I will try to explore these questions.

Monday, November 11, 2013

War of the Gatekeepers

Although the Internet encompasses many things, we often colloquially use the term 'Internet' to refer to what is known as the Web. The Web is the specific part of the Internet where you have web pages and web sites (aha, it all comes together!). The interface that most people use to interact with the Web is a web browser.

You know what's nostalgic? Market failure.

Your web browser is one of those things that you tend to take for granted. They're sleek, they're nondescript, they're just a natural part of our online routine. Being your browser of choice, however, is like getting to be your personal gatekeeper to the Internet - all web traffic must go through you first.

Naturally, many have vied for being the gatekeeper of choice. The so-called "browser wars" unwittingly became one of the most visible business struggles on the Internet - as well as a business struggle that would likely color all online business struggles to come.