On the fringe of the internet: 4chan /b/

Have you heard of Boxxybabee?

No? well I will get to her in a minute.


Ever heard of 4chan /b/?

Zac described it as the 'Footscray of the internet' (Sydneysiders think Redfern before the hipsters migrated).

Wikipedia suggests that

'4chan is an English-language imageboard website... its boards are primarily used for the posting of pictures and discussion of manga and anime...4chan is usually in the top 1000 sites in the world... The "random" board, /b/, is by far 4chan's most popular board. Gawker.com's Nick Douglas summarizes /b/ as a board where "people try to shock, entertain, and coax free porn from each other".'


Sounds like just some crazy anime fanboi bulletin board?

But that is where you are wrong, 4chan is a powerhouse of internet memes. All these memes originate from 4chan;



Lolcat



Rick Rolling



Chocolate Rain


...and the newest edition is BoxxyBabee



The rise of Boxxybabee
According to Ashadi (Bannerblog), Boxxy is not a member of 4chan, but just gave a shout out to the 4chan message board. She caused quite a stir by doing this 'because /b/ is a bit like Fight Club... there are no rules, except you are not supposed to talk about it/tell people. Mostly because outsiders just don't get it and think it's ridiculous.' suggested Sophie Benjamin.

However, as the 1,000s of /b/tards (as they like to be known) were going to see what all the commotion was about, her videos was shooting up the Youtube Honour board. She climbed all the way to most subscribed Youtuber for the day (12th Jan, currently 600,000+ views in 4 days). Her Pièce de Youtube résistance came when the Youtube heavyweight SxePhil (9th most subscribed in the world) showcased her on one of his videos.

Meanwhile a shit storm was occurring in the 4chan site, lovers and haters of boxxy were arguing over her being a sign of everything that is right/wrong about the forum and haters were using a little bit of porn to help get their case across. All this talk actually helped to create her into a meme.


Conclusion and more posts to follow

4chan has to be one of the most interesting environments on the internet, it takes all that you think you know about digital media (social capital, user experience, creativity, power users) and flips it on its head, over the coming weeks I am going to provide some posts on lessons learnt from 4chan aka 'the fringes of the internet'.

I have to give a big thanks to Ashadi Hopper and Sophie Benjamin for providing me valuable insight into the inner workings of this community.

Ashadi has also written a post on BoxxyBabee here

The 4chan archive is also a great place to pick up on quality or most viewed topics coming through the website.

21 comments:

Nick HaC said...

Great post Julian!

Your absolutely right, /b/ is the underbelly of the internet, where chaos reigns and ideas rule over identity.

It's breaks all the rules we know in traditional advertising and marketers regarding top down creation of ideas and influence.

I dont ever expect any marketing team will ever be able to leverage /B/ , but im sure we will be able to benefit from its unique potency in meme creation :)

Gavin Heaton said...

You're back to form!
Great post, Jules.
It's important to point out that the health of an ecosystem is dependent upon the outliers (the Granovetter version rather than the Gladwell). It's why sites like 4chan are so important to the vast space of the Internet.

Julian Cole said...

Hey Gav ad Nick, thanks for the kind words!

I would have to agree with you Nick, Marketer going go with a branded message into /b/ is a destined for failure. However, I think that it is important for a Marketer/Digital Strategist to understand the ecosystem of the internet.

Matt Granfield said...

You are the cancer that is killing the thought that anyone can get away with writing a bad marketing blog post anymore. Nice catch Jules, love your work.

Cheryl said...

Fantastic post Julian.

Dear god, has anyone actually made it through all 3 and a half minutes of Boxxebabbee?

I managed 45 seconds before I had to shut off the sound...

Anonymous said...

Their hItler post was killer if anyone saw it. Doctor Doctor give me the news.......


4 Chan the masters of forum invasions.
They also invaded TWGF jules and sent the joint into meltdown.

MrTruffle said...

If I was 15 I would have a boner for boxeebee.

wisey said...

Tay Zonday (chocolate rain) is one weird looking kid:
http://www.tayzonday.com/
he's like a jackson and cartoon character all rolled into one

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Rule 1&2 were amended and this post is in violation

Zac Martin said...

And he's back!

You're right, a marketer will never truly work in that area successfully, unless a member from within decided on a career in marketing. Even then the backlash would be phenomenal.

On occasion, they've been known to troll/bash forums if to their pleasing. In some cases, they organise to flood websites with hits and with sheer size have the ability to crash servers and take down webpages.

But I agree, it's a place you can't dismissed, particularly with the amount of good content coming out of there. Even Footscray produces something decent once in a while.

Zac Martin said...

Also for the lulz.

Anonymous said...

Boxxy is adowabwe. Too bad she's just a fake marketing stunt.

Anonymous said...

boxxxy is an annoying little cunt and that's to put it mildly. Enough with the over acting and self importance.

Julian Cole said...

And please welcome, Anonymous to the room!

Me said...

I'd hit it.

Piccolo said...

Very interesting - but boxxy... i think i made it through all of 23 seconds. My ears were bleeding.

Anonymous said...

I F*CKING HATE BOXXY.

the end.

Anonymous said...

"If I was 15 I would have a boner for boxeebee."

Im not and I have one...

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