Academic Kate Miltner recently received her Master's Degree from the London School of Economics for her 98-page dissertation on the appeal of LOLcats, in which she argues that they ultimately enrich society and make us smarter. Here's the Cliff's Notes version:
Miltner breaks down LOLcats fans into three groups:
- "Cheezfrenz" are LOLcats diehards and predominantly female. They are involved in I Can Has Cheezburger because it is "a place to be safe and kind" for people who "want to be nice, want to be happy, want to give support, want to smile." Cheezfrenz know and connect through the correct use of LOLspeak (the grammar and spelling of LOLcats).
- MemeGeeks, as Miltner calls them, make LOLcats that refer to more obscure memes, and are predominantly male. They play around with LOLcats on Reddit and Tumblr.
- Casual Users are evenly split between males and females. They use email and Facebook to share LOLcats with friends and family as a way of staying in touch during the workday.
Ultimately, Miltner concludes that regardless of the type of user, "when it came to LOLcats, sharing and creating were often different means to the same end: making meaningful connections with others."
[thanks, ben! atlantic]