The Evolution of Internet Vernacular

David McRaney writes an in-depth cultural-linguistic analysis of visual and verbal vernacular on the web, touching upon leetspeak and various image macros (including lolcats and others). In addition to being a useful glimpse into how ideas travel and subcultures identify themselves online, now I finally understand why Kotaku keeps writing posts with kitten pictures in them. (Link via Manifest Density via Boing Boing.)

Update: Boing Boing has a follow-up post. And while I’m at it, here’s an article about American versus Japanese use of emoticons, focusing on how emphasis on the mouth versus eyes parallels face-to-face interaction in each culture.