An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community (4chan /b)

This just in:

“Analyzing ephemerality via two weeks of of site activity, we found that the median thread spends just ?ve seconds on /b/’s ?rst page before being pushed off by newer posts, and that the median thread expires completely within ?ve minutes. Even in a world informed by Twitter and newsfeeds, where content is out of users’ attentional sphere quickly, we argue that such rapid content deletion drives many of /b/’s community dynamics. On /b/, ephemerality and deletion create a powerful selection mechanic by requiring content the community wants to see be repeatedly reposted, and potentially remixed. We believe this is critical to the site’s in?uence on internet culture and memes.”

Read the full paper here (PDF). (also).

If you haven’t seen /b/, then I’ll let you find it.