“As memes became the language of the web—and grew to be increasingly lucrative—aggregators like BuzzFeed professionalized the process, repackaging the best stuff from darker corners of the web with cold efficiency. Why wade through the porn and gore on 4chan to find the next internet thing when a slick BuzzFeed listicle comes complete with a half-dozen share buttons to easily show all your friends?”
4chan’s Moment Is Over Even Though It’s More Popular Than Ever by Adrian “Nick likes to spell it Adrien” Chen
Agreed on the above. The last two years were very good for the memes-for-NORPs industry. Know Your Meme became a regular source for news organizations, BuzzFeed and the Daily What and Urlesque inspired every up-and-coming blogger to make a habit of explaining and normalizing new memes, and Tumblr and Reddit became massive cultural forces. And now sites like Memebase and 9GAG have their own millions-upon-millions of readers who’ve never heard of 4chan but read watered-down versions of its old jokes every day.
Meanwhile Chris Poole concentrated on Canvas, which is creating some great new stuff that I don’t often see seep into the rest of the internet (I hope that changes). It’s less that he’s grown beyond 4chan and more that he’s interested in more than one site.
Meanwhile, as Adrian says, Anonymous kind of wilted along with Occupy, though who knows if they’ll boom again soon. They’d been pretty unimportant in the years between Project Chanology and Occupy. During that time too, everyone thought they’d stopped mattering.