How Internet Folklore Works

Lots More Information

Author's Note: How Internet Folklore Works

I remember the first time I connected to an infant version of the Internet. I used a 300-baud modem to dial up a local bulletin board system with a rudimentary chat feature and a text-based adventure game. Even as a child, I knew my life would never again be the same. The online universe connected me, a rural kid, to a vast world full of stories, fun and (sometimes) danger that transfixed my friends and me. We still played outside, swapping ridiculous kid stories and playing in the dirt, but we also connected online, developing an entirely new type of culture that mystified our parents but seemed as important to us as anything that happened IRL (in real life). Our shared folklore then wasn't just in the flesh. It was – and is -- digitized, too.

Related Articles


  • American Folklore Society. “What is Folklore?” (Jan. 5, 2015)
  • Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia. “The First Great Crowdsourced Myth of the Internet.” Daily Dot. Oct. 31, 2013. (Jan. 5, 2015)
  • Blank, Trevor J. “Folklore and the Internet: Vernacular Expression in a Digital World.” Utah State University Press.” Jan. 1, 2009. (Jan. 5, 2015)
  • “Common Myths About Facebook.” Facebook Help Center. (Jan. 7, 2015)
  • Evans, Timothy H. “The Ghosts in the Machine.” New York Times. June 7, 2014. (Jan. 5, 2015)
  • Dundes, Alan. “Interpreting Folklore.” Indiana University Press. 1980.
  • Fox, Margalit. “Alan Dundes, 70, Folklorist Who Studied Human Custom, Dies.” New York Times. April 2, 2005. (Jan. 5, 2015)
  • Lalone, Nick. “10 Myths and Legends in Video Games.” Oct. 28, 2012. (Jan. 5, 2015)
  • New York Folklore Society. “What is Folklore?” (Jan. 5, 2015)
  • Owens, Trevor. “Born Digital Folklore and the Vernacular Web: An Interview with Robert Glenn Howard.” Library of Congress. Feb. 22, 2013. (Jan. 5, 2015)
  • Ortiz, Erik. “Fantasy 'Slender Man' Meme Inspires Horrific Wisconsin Stabbing.” NBC News. June 3, 2014. (Jan. 7,2015)