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Kate Miltner Writes LOLCats Dissertation For The London School Of Economics

Posted: 05/10/2012 11:44 am Updated: 05/10/2012 12:29 pm

Whoever said LOLCats were mindless might haz the wrong idea, according to Kate Miltner, who wrote her London School of Economics masters dissertation on the Internet memes.

Titled "SRSLY PHENOMENAL: An Investigation Into The Appeal Of LOLCATS," Miltner set out to answer, "'Why in the name of Ceiling Cat are LOLCats so popular?' What is it about LOLCats that not only fueled their initial popularity, but helped maintain it for years?"

Miltner noted that despite LOLCats' enormous popularity, they've received no serious academic attention.

As readers would expect from scholarly works, Miltner's paper includes heavy research. She traces the kittens' evolution out of the Web 2.0 space and examines how the rise of participatory culture and user-generated content mixed with "vernacular creativity" and joys of "the production of the everyday" launched the cats onto the ruling seat of the Memesphere.

After extensive research and six focus groups, what she found was "how seemingly trivial pieces of media -- pictures of cats with captions -- can act as meaningful conduits to central elements of our humanity.

"I found that when it came to LOLCats, sharing and creating were often different means to the same end: making meaningful connections with others."

HuffPost College has reached out to the London School of Economics and Miltner. This report will be updated. Meanwhile, read the LOLcats thesis.

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Filed by William McGuinness  |