(The following is an ill-advised break from paper-writing. Please forgive any incoherency!)
In the throes of my hardcore procrastination (Harvard has its finals period after break), I was examining everything ROFL and found that a member of our Facebook group had posted a link to his research paper about lulz.
This is really exciting to me because I must admit that 4chan’s mentality and culture were always a bit inexplicable to me. My old haunt on the internets was somewhat downstream of Something Awful and 4chan, so while I became familiar with the meme culture as it floated on by, I didn’t quite understand how it was generated and who the “cool kids” were that got to determine what was funny and what wasn’t.
And now, an insider’s detailed explanation! This paper is neither comprehensive nor academically rigorous, but it definitely does go a long way for those of us who understand the world that 4chan influences but not what exactly went on inside the black box. It’s like lurking moar but in a conveniently bite-sized package. I suggest you read it!