Blog-dumps galore, commence!
Nice keyboard (from

Where can I buy this one?

Anyways, with the vastness of the Internet, there’s bound to be something new to be discovered every time you start the browser. It might be a new meme, a new viral video hitting Facebook or a TV or book series you’ve never heard of. Chances are, if your interest is really, really piqued, you’ll start a mini-research of sorts. You know, getting to know this new discovery of yours. It often happens to me – some of my recent interests came from stumbling upon a recommendation or mention.
What I noticed is that (at least, when it comes to me) when I wanted to learn something more about a certain topic, my first stop is not Wikipedia. No, it’s not even Google. It’s TV Tropes.
Shameless plugging of my favorite site aside, I find TV Tropes to be a more ‘interesting’ site. By ‘interesting’, I mean ‘fun’.  It’s even in the site’s homepage – they are, after all, “buttloads more informal” than Wikipedia. Sure, Wikipedia might have more organized information, but TV Tropes have something which is really up there in my ‘plus points’ list: it’s very, very witty.  Or more exactly, it’s so informal that users can get away with the occasional profanity or two, all mixed with wiki magic and user wit. Since it’s a wiki-type, users are free to add content, although there are editors to make sure that most content follows grammar to make them understandable.
Then I realized this – there’s no universal law validating this, but a good chunk of the Internet’s made up of the informal. By ‘informal’, I mean the conversational, funny, witty, curt, straight-to-the-forward, memetic, multilingual, leet, grammatically disrespectful and/or profanity-ridden. It’s not, “Jin is mostly frigid to other people unless they’re Ragna”, it’s “He’s a jackass to everyone and a yandere to Ragna”. When chatting, it’s rarely “Sure, I’ll send this document via email. Is 8:30PM okay with you?” but “sure””i’ll send the doc XD””830?”. When it comes to peer reviews, it’s not surprising to find “i really, really like your fic! <33 will be faving this. pls update soon!” and “this book is nice” instead of paragraphs upon paragraphs of constructive criticism.
Sure, there’s still lots of material with proper grammar and formatting out there, even ones that sound like your undergraduate thesis, but that’s the language of formality – it seems that the human language online is full of smileys, intercultural content, shortcuts, lax grammar and formatting, alternating caps and numbers. And I think it’s not even ‘age-related’ a.k.a. ‘only the young ones type that way’: I’ve seen middle-aged people express themselves in small caps and shortcuts. The only reason I can think is because ‘it’s the Internet’. In the place where truly ‘anything goes’, even rules of grammar seem to have a loose hold.
Leet Speak (from

Wonder of wonders

Reading “can i haz cheezburgers LOL” has a distinctive ‘Internet’ vibe to it – you wouldn’t really see it in real life unless you’re consciously citing it. As the Internet has also made it easier for people to find their subcultures online, it’s common to see a smorgasbord of terms and jargon. In the era of fast-paced communication with limited space for content (why hello there, Twitter), people are squeezing in as much thought as possible before hitting the character limit. What’s more, this is also the era of information overload – one’s attention is rarely pegged on the same sentence longer than, say, ten seconds, before moving on to the next tidbit. Lastly, this is also the era of the multi-tasker – between chatting with your groupmates, checking Facebook, updating Twitter, reading emails and watching videos, you can’t have the liberty of typing a paragraph for a response. In the online realm, where anything comes and goes at the speed of kilobytes per second, it’s a deluge of text and images all vying for your attention and begging to be retained in your memory. Keep it short, sweet, exciting and straight(to the)forward – this appears to be the creed of the online crowd.
The form might get choppy, run-on, too short, ‘geeky’ and look more like a barcode or Wingdings,  but it’s the thought and matter that counts – although the message might need some deciphering (unless, of course, it’s written in Cyrillic or Nihongo, and that’s another story). Simply put, the online crowd likes hearing messages that’s not going to bore them to death. If it’s a block of text like this without the cheeky, hey-what-was-that-again part – namely, it’s a boring block of text – then it’s not going to work. It doesn’t mean that we should be adopting leetspeak – it’s just that even text has to be ‘interesting’ now (and no, it’s not about font types, alternating caps or new word-number combinations). Wit has always captivated an audience, but in the online world, one has to be extra witty and curt about it. It’s becoming increasingly easier to get lost in online information content, with new things being added everyday and the tabs feature now so common among web browsers. Of course, not everyone is going to like a statement like “a boatload of weeaboos”, and “we guarantee you its awesomeness” will raise more than a few eyebrows in a clean-cut corporate site. Like I’ve said before, the “Internet likes the witty, informal and short” observation isn’t universal.
Besides, this is the Internet, right? Anything goes, and whatever it is, we would want it to be entertaining at the very least.