Anorak News | How 4chan Became The World’s Best Tabloid Of The Internet Age

How 4chan Became The World’s Best Tabloid Of The Internet Age

by | 31st, August 2010

THANKS to its expose of Mary Bale – the Coventry legend filmed tossing Lola the cat into bi – 4Chan is now on the mainstream media’s agenda. 4chan is now being cited in its pursuit of Little Red Riding Hood seen tossing puppies into a river.

4chan members on the /b/ board not only found out Bale’s name but where she lived, worked and even her phone number. This was impressive stuff. The old media might well be worried.

It should be. Take campaigns. The old media loves a campaign. They are just about the only thing that differentiates one news organ from another. When the readers are encouraged to get together to prove a point it is seen as noble and worthwhile. The Daily Mail wants you to ban wheelie bins. The Sun wants you to get the pig Jade Goody out of Big Brother. One paper, the East London Advertiser, once ran a campaign against another paper called East End Life.

The same thing on the web is known as trolling. People the old media bill as “activists” become trolls on the web – weird, narrow-minded creatures who push their agenda through your letter box. They are not like, say, party political canvassers.

And, then, 4chan keeps its trolls housed in the /b/ board.

The difference between the old media and 4chan, is that the site’s campaigns are proven to work. You can see the results of the group effort. You want Justin Bieber’s name to be linked to syphilis on search engines? Done. You want the Coventry cat woman named? Done. You want YouTube videos to feature porn? Done.

The site’s editor-at-large is New Yorker Christopher Poole. Says he of the site’s users:

“They like to get a reaction but they like to do it from the comfort of their chair at home in the basement. For the most part 4channers are more or less decent people, they’re not going to go too crazy.”

They are young. It is adolescent, sticky-fingered humour of the type you are supposed to grow out of, but don’t. You just grow up to envy that the adolescents who can do it and get away with it.

Says Poole:

“The conversation that takes place on the site is raw and unfiltered, when people contribute anonymously you get their innermost self they express things they would otherwise be shy to do in a forum where they could be identified, I’m a fan of the conversation that results, for better for worse.”

It’s like reading the graffiti on the back of a station toilet door, complete with phone number of no frills shags, pornographic daubing, self-absorbed nonsense and the occasional gem of a story.

4Chan’s the first made-for-internet tabloid…

Posted: 31st, August 2010 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (2) | TrackBack | Permalink