“On the Origin of Posers”

This is a summary of “On the Origin of Posers”, a post by Hotel Concierge.



A culture is founded by a small group with high levels of interest in something relative to the general population.

Who is going to join this new culture?

The most casual people that the culture’s definition allows.

Waves of posers arrive and become a majority, changing the culture’s definition. The fringe for whom the culture is now too mainstream leaves, and others become the new fringe. This goes on until New Culture is entirely swallowed by Old. Conflicts over making something accessible to the mainstream are everywhere, from complaints about white artists borrowing from non-white art to Gamergate.

Society is a collection of cultures forming, growing, budding off, swallowing, growing, budding off, swallowing, agar.io forever.

[…] There is safety in obscurity; the internet devours obscurity.

But just as importantly, the internet facilitates grouping based on shared beliefs, rather than shared action. […] Communities of musicians hold up better than communities of music fans: pentatonic scales are objective, the best Radiohead album is a matter of some debate (among people who don’t know that it’s OK Computer). Similarly, skill-based video game communities tend to be quite welcoming: you can’t casual-ify the inputs for Shoryuken. And, anecdotally, communities who act politically—right or left—have far less infighting than those that work through reblogs and labels.

Niche differentiation.

See also

  • “Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution” and “The Evaporative Cooling Effect” in Internet communities.