Cole Stryker: Press & Clips

stuff i wrote
stuff written 'bout me

“Cole: I support individuals blowing the whistle on corporate corruption, but I tend to sympathize with people, even universally despised cretins. Vigilante mobs don’t tend to concern themselves with proportionality in their retribution. At least the criminal justice system pretends to concern itself with punishments that fit the crime.”

““Younger people are now driven toward participatory culture, entertainment you can be a part of,” said Cole Stryker, author of the book Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan’s Army Conquered the Web. “A guy livestreaming his suicide, that’s extremely titillating. It’s not scripted, it’s not reality TV. This is reality in its most extreme form playing out before your very eyes. It would have been equally as fun if he had not gone through with the attempt, just the prospect. It’s a hell of a lot more interesting than watching reruns of Seinfeld.” There is, of course, something about the culture of 4chan that makes it almost inevitably a venue where something like this might occur. A bare-bones, completely anonymous image- and message-sharing site created for the kinds of anime-loving Internet pioneers who were chatting online long before everyone and their grandmother joined Facebook, 4chan is like the virtual revenge of the nerds—a return to the freewheeling, Wild West-style Internet where there are very few rules and absolutely nothing is taken seriously. While there’s no real demographic data available, Stryker guesses that majority of 4chan users are males between the ages of 15 and 30. And suicide is just one of the many shocking 4chan spectacles, which range from bullying to stripping to killing pets on camera. “It’s the same thing you see in a real world playground environment, where kids goad each other on to do something extreme or transgressive,” he said. “People will look back and laugh about [Stephen] even if he had killed himself, because this is a community that holds nothing sacred,” said Stryker. “There is this unspoken idea that if you participate in it you will be mocked and trolled and pranked.” If Stryker sounds cavalier, it’s not because he doesn’t find it abhorrent that anyone could be entertained by another’s suffering. He does. He just doesn’t think it’s his position to “make some grandiose moral statement” about what goes on online, particularly on 4chan.”

The Dark Net: Is the value of anonymity worth the cost? (part two) | Al Jazeera America

I’m on Al Jazeera America, talkin’ Deep Web stuff. 

Are We Puppets in a Wired World? by Sue Halpern | The New York Review of Books

The NY Review of Books shouts out Hacking the Future

Cole Stryker on anonymity on the web

“We also have plenty of memes built around silly white people. We have Kai, Corey, Kristen Bell crying about sloths, and Jennifer Lawrence’s universally adored red carpet gaffes, which we desperately hope are genuine and not the result of calculated media training that has begun to recognize the generational yearn for authenticity among our celebs. We love Honey Boo Boo because she says the darnedest things—not because she’s poor, or because she has an underdeveloped intellect, but because she operates outside the stifling self-censorship that afflicts most media-addled humans. She’s not trying to perform; she’s simply in possession of an enviable and infectious comfort in her own skin.”

“The rise of the social web may be perceived as a re-villaging, where the permanence of one’s digital footprint behaves as a deterrent, making it seem to some like an ideal time to reintroduce public shaming to reinforce norms. But considered through a historical lens, public shaming begins to look like a tool designed not to humanely punish the perp but rather to satisfy the crowd.”


My piece, “Go to Bed, Tao Lin” was included the Best of Rhizome 2012 ebook. 


I talked to PBS about h4x0rz. 


Me on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin podcast.