In 2008, Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig coined the term "remix culture" to describe a shift in consumer participation in the era of Web 2.0. By socializing resources for innovation, Lessig states, “access…is made dependent upon your membership in some community, and not upon a special status or hierarchy.”
Today, it is clear that remix culture has only accelerated through the increasing accessibility and breadth of the social web. Insider jokes, viral videos, and participatory media have all proven to supersede the lifespan of their own platform and live well beyond on other platforms and even the real world. These digital phenomena are all categorized under a vague definition of "meme," yet the term feels like an understatement when describing the scale of cultural remixing.
Why are we so transfixed on these seemingly insignificant digital symbols? And how does digital culture depart from physical tradition? With Friends Like These seeks to explore a history of the Internet as told by online communities. The goal of this project is to offer a tangible resource for an erratic culture that often feels lost in translation. How have online representations of the real world changed throughout time? Using the database of KnowYourMeme and various Internet forums, With Friends Like These showcases how an informal digital practice would appear as a conventional printed encyclopedia. As digital communication continues to become a dominant part of the everyday, it is important to consider what is contained within the Internet's memory and how it is preserved.