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Pursuit of Distraction: Internet Cats as Anti-FOMO

Pursuit of Distraction Internet Cats as Anti FOMO ART21 Magazine


While Facebook wants to be a mirror of the real world, AFK, cats reflect the internet itself and continue to embody some of the web’s most cherished values, such as user-created content and remixes.

Stashed in: User Generated Content, Lolcats!, About Memes

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The barrier for entry into the creation of cat content is low: all you need are a cat and a cell phone, or if that fails, you can probably find a good cat photo to repurpose.

Cat culture did not truly flourish until the launch of YouTube and the emergence of LOLcats. 

LOLcats are still images of cats with “cheezburger” or internet language captions over the images (also called macros). Cheezburger memes, combined with the feline cellphone videos, productions, and remixes that populate YouTube, continue to compose the bulk of Caturday content. Cats are the subject of the most iconic memes ever produced and perhaps even helped to define meme form.

Every LOLcat image macro or video leads further into the Internet with infinite search results, algorithmically related content, or another prompt (“did u see this??”). Likewise, every cat meme is an invitation to make another cat meme, for your own clever take on Happy Cat, Grumpy Cat, or Ceiling Cat or a re-edit of Nononono Cat, OMG Cat, or Keyboard Cat. The Procatinator, a website that serves as a distraction dispenser, takes its user from one cat meme to the next with well-paired musical accompaniment.

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