4chan is the "Anti-Facebook", a site that radically encourages anonymity. It spawned the hacktivist group Anonymous, which famously defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by bringing down MasterCard's and Visa's websites. Created by a 15-year-old wunderkind in 2003, it is the creative force behind "the Web's most infectious memes and catchphrases" (Wired). Today it has over 12 million monthly users, with enormous social influence to match.
Epic Win is the first book to tell 4chan's story. Longtime blogger and 4chan expert Cole Stryker writes with a voice that is engrossingly informative and approachable. Whether examining the 4chan-provoked Jessi Slaughter saga and how cyber-bullying is part of our new reality, or explaining how Sarah Palin's email account was leaked, Epic Win for Anonymous proves 4chan's transformative cultural impact, and how it has influenced - and will continue to influence - society at large.
©2011 Cole Stryker (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"A primer on why the Internet works the way it does today, thanks in large part to 4chan. That includes, but isn't limited to, the emergence of Anonymous." (Salon.com)
Good overview of 4Chan
The most interesting aspect of the book was the history of the development of 4chan, from its roots to as close to present as can be expected. While the word 'Anonymous' is in the title, it could be thought of more the primary feature of 4chan which was the use of anonymous posters. This gave people the freedom to express themselves without risk of embarrassment or potential imprisonment, it has also led to the explosion of trolls.
Least interesting, had to be the history of memes. While mentioning various memes were good, let's face it, if it isn't cute pictures of lolcats, just not riveting.
He reads in the voice you would expect a long time denizen of 4Chan. He has that hipster ironic voice which might be grating but adds to the interest of the book.
Cole Stryker gives us a look of 4chan. As a person who may go there about once a year, and usually to find out what the latest fuss is all about, I'm not overly familiar with the content or background to 4chan. It's the birthplace of the group and I know that's not the proper word to describe them, Anonymous, it certainly has been at the forefront of the wild west nature of the Internet. When corporations and governments want to control the Internet and turn it either into another form of mass media and culture, or a place where its 'safe' for the powers to be from the prying eyes of an engaged and usually enraged citizenry. 4chan is like the place the internet once was, and perhaps should be, expressing the full range of humanity.
Stryker gives us a good overview, from the history of its roots, to a description of the various forums, both the infamous and the lesser known. He also talks about the various experiences of the trolls and other people. He isn't afraid to discuss some of the darker aspects of the site, which led some local news outlets to refer to it as the "Internet Hate Machine". There has also been some cool stuff that has come out.
Overall, it is worth listening to, especially for people like me, who have a casual awareness of the site.
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