UK student produces 98page dissertation on LOLCats

first_imgUsually when someone is preparing their Master’s dissertation, you witness them in pursuit of answers to a scholarly question like “What are the effects of storing data on salt wafers?” or something along those lines. You certainly don’t expect to hear “Why in the name of Ceiling Cat are LOLCats so popular?”, but if you were to talk to UK student Kate Miltner that’s exactly the answer you would receive.A student at the London School of Economics, Miltner spent several weeks conducting research and writing a 98-page document to present her findings. Rather than bore you with an outline containing buzz words like “web 2.0” and “anamorphic humor” that are liberally sprinkled throughout, we decided to give you the top four revelations that Miltner gleaned as a result of her reasearch.There are three different types of LOLCat users.Let’s see which category you fall into. Heavy users of the site are called “Cheezfrenz,” and are obsessed with funny cat pictures of all types. Miltner states that these people are drawn to the site because it’s “safe and kind.” “Meme Geeks” are those people that hit the site for a cheap laugh in an effort to create an “internet funny.” You know, those of you who lurk on 4Chan or Reddit just waiting for your opportunity to score some cred off someone else’s fluffy friend.The last and arguably most sane category is the “casual user” that gets directed to the site by a member of the other two categories mentioned above.LOLCats members use LOLspeak to cull outsidersMiltner stumbled on the fact that most of the regular users of the site employ a “special language” called LOLspeak to separate themselves from casual visitors. When she put a call out for participants for her research focus groups she got several responses that looked like this; “Ohai! I wud like tu b in deh focus groop, if it am alrite wif u!” Upon further study, Miltner decided that this phenomenon was a purposeful reflection of the groups necessity to define its human borders. We’ll just leave that one right there.Meme Geeks are hipstersIn conjunction with the finding above, Miltner also found that once the Meme Geek category of user starts seeing LOLspeak and different cat memes being used in mainstream culture, they drop the whole thing like a bad habit. She likens it to the reaction of a band’s rabid fan base that realizes the object of their worship has “sold out”. In a nutshell, Meme Geeks are hipsters.People use LOLCats to express how they feelAll sarcasm aside, this is probably one of the most interesting things (and probably what she was really after) that Miltner discovered as a result of the research she conducted. Users across the board told stories where they had shared a specific LOLCat meme to express the wide range of feelings a human is capable of. Because most of the images used for said memes are of cute, cuddly cats, most users expressed a feel of well being when involved in the broader community. This led Miltner to her conclusion that the reason LOLCats is so successful is that people use it like other social networking sites to connect with people of a like mindedness.While Miltner’s research certainly won’t be solving any first world problems, the process outlined in her dissertation is interesting. Worse comes to worst, you could always use her work as proof for your parents or loved ones that studying the Internet all day is important.Read Miltner’s dissertation for yourself, via Huffington Postlast_img read more