Just somewhere to put down my thoughts on Interactive Media Strategies (IMS) and occasionally some other stuff that pops into my mind...

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Web Culture

As mentioned in my previous post, Uses and Gratifications, the web has created a new culture (or even cultures) that is inconsistent with the offline world. Baym (1999) considers four aspects of this:
  • New forms of expression
  • New forms of identity
  • New relationships
  • New behavioural norm

Here I will discuss the first two.

Identity on the internet is created in a number of ways. Avatars, nicknames and signatures are all tools for people to portray themselves online. They empower people to create an online identity that resembles their authentic selves, free from the restrictions they face offline. Similar to the way people offline buy products that portray certain qualities, people make use of images and quotes online that create specific associations.

People have also developed new ways to express themselves online. The degree of anonymity allows a freedom of expression that doesn’t exist offline. People can say as they please without fear of repercussions. Acronyms have become popular for frequently mentioned phrases (STFU, ROFL, IMHO and RTFM to name but a few) as well as emoticons. The common use of the “f” word is a signal of this freedom.

In my latest IMS seminar, we were asked to mock up an ad which appropriates a popular internet meme (a sort of viral inside joke) or online expression. Here is my first attempt that plays on the ceiling cat meme.

Go ahead, ceiling cat is busy eating... Whiskas

I’ll link to everyone else’s when they have been presented, but in the meantime feel free to comment on my ad or even share some of your own.

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