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Inside the souls of young males- 4chan

August 25, 2010

Technology Review has a great article that gets inside the world of 4chan and its founder Christopher Poole to reveal a world where anonymity is prized, anything goes and there is no history. It’s a place where the ugly side of the web that many want to censor is free and rampant and is in many ways the alter ego to the corporate web.

Poole is attracting interest from investors, TED conference organizers and Facebook employees who flocked to a recent talk he gave on their campus.

“Visited mostly by young men in their late teens and early 20s, 4chan is loosely organized by topics of interest–music, games, TV, animation (Japanese and otherwise). But nearly half its messages are posted in a single random-topics section known as /b/, and /b/’s anarchy sets the tone for the site in general. It’s out of /b/ that swarms of gleeful online troublemakers–trolls, in Internet parlance–occasionally issue forth to prank, hack, harass, and otherwise digitally provoke other online communities and users. From /b/, as well, the Internet at large absorbs a steady stream of catchphrases and sight gags–LOLcats, rickrolling, and other ubiquitous Internet memes that seep up from the endless, dizzying churn of /b/’s vast reservoir of inside jokes. Often intended to shock, shot through with racism, misogyny, and other qualities deliberately chosen from beyond the contemporary pale, the words and images of /b/ have become an online spectacle: “Lunatic, juvenile … brilliant, ridiculous and alarming,” the Guardian newspaper’s website once called it. “The id of the Internet,”….”

I guess a trip inside the world of 4chan is a journey that has to be made by any planner serious about understanding the mind of young males today.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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