The “ROFL” in “ROFLCon” is an outdated web acronym — Rolling on the Floor Laughing — basically an old-timey way of saying “LOL.” ROFLCon uses it ironically. The vintage webspeak is characteristic of the event — a conference that is equally concerned with the past, present, and future of Internet culture. The two-day event, held at MIT last weekend, combined the best elements of a fan convention with a truly academic conference. Don’t let the goofy names of panels, like “Adventures in Aca-meme-ia,” fool you; the featured panelists and giddy audience members were all too eager to dive into serious discussion.
Christina Xu and Tim Hwang, who co-founded the conference in 2008 as Harvard undergrads, curated a lively mix of panels, bringing together speakers from around the world. Topics ranged from how people in China use visual humor to evade censorship (“Global Lulzes”), to what to do when a YouTube video of your kid suddenly goes viral (“Honey I Memed the Kids!”). Amid the chaos, a central issue took shape; web video is radically reshaping pop culture. […]
In this eight-minute documentary, produced and edited by Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, we discovered that even though their lives have been turned upside down, and in some cases totally transformed, by Internet fame, they’re people too. They’re pretty awesome people, actually.
Featuring: Antoine Dodson, Double Rainbow guy, David (of “David After Dentist” fame), the maker of Nyan Cat, and many more of the Internet’s favorite people.
These people are from the internet.
Also relevant: The alt text for this xkcd comic from a few years back reads: “I’m waiting for the day when, if you tell someone ‘I’m from the internet,’ instead of laughing they just ask ‘oh what part?’” I think we might be there. (Though the map of the internet has since been updated.)