‘Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife’ — ROFLCon Takes The Town

Ah, the Internet — full of wonderful ways to procrastinate. We watch countless hours of video, laugh at the endless river of memes, and help the previously unknown launch to international stardom. But in the broader cultural context, what exactly does our love for these viral sensations mean?

Enter: ROFLCon (Rolling On The Floor Laughing Convention).

The Internet In 3D

ROFLCon takes over the MIT campus this Friday and Saturday, with media thinkers, Internet celebrities and fans coming together to celebrate and understand Internet culture. The ROFLCon team calls it “the most important gatherings since the fall of the tower of Babel.”

While that’s debatable, there’s no doubt that ROFLCon does add up to more than the sum of its parts. While the conference may seem like an homage to Internet celebrities and entertaining viral videos, there’s actually much more to the two-day event.

Personalities, Big And Small

Some panels at ROFLCon feature guests that might be considered small-time celebrities — like Antoine Dodson from the “Bed Intruder Song,” David Devore from “David After Dentist” and Paul Vasquez, otherwise known as “Double Rainbow Guy.”

Socially awkward penguin is an advice animal meme -- the top text illustrates an awkward behavior and the bottom reveals the often comical consequences. (Generated by Nate Goldman with quickmeme.com)

CLICK TO ENLARGE: Socially awkward penguin is an advice animal meme -- the top text illustrates an awkward behavior and the bottom reveals the often comical consequences. (Generated by Nate Goldman with quickmeme.com)

Other panels, however, feature academics and Internet experts who are there to explore the direction the Internet is headed and how we use content to achieve various ends. Some of those experts include Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain (this year’s keynote speaker) and David Weinberger, both from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Anil Dash from Expert Labs, a part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, will also be there.

Regardless of who the guest is, all of them are there as Internet users first and will discuss topics ranging from the future of Internet culture to the freedom of the Internet to a meme’s roll in political revolutions, and even a live art competition featuring something they call “The Wheel Of Death.”

Your Tour Guides

And there to navigate you all through the convention is us — Aayesha Siddiqui and Nate Goldman. We’ll be covering the conference live via Twitter and Facebook and will tweet all of the keyboard-playing cats, philosophizing velociraptors and deadpan naturalists you can handle.

Be sure to follow us @aayesha and @NateGoldman for full coverage.

Resources: Internet Memes 101

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  • Gretchen Markiewicz

    Hide your wife? Because men are gathering to talk about the internet? Between brogramming and booth babes, I am tired of continuing to see the exclusion of women from tech, software, and internet communities. Especially, not just including, examples that were meant as humor. Sexism in humor is the hardest to root out. Next time, choose a different title.

    • http://twitter.com/mdigirol Matt

      Educate yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hMtZfW2z9dw

      Not everything is an attack on your feminism.

    • Madeleine

      I laughed at this at first — because I thought it was excellent trolling. But I’m coming from the perspective of knowing some of ROFLCon’s organizers, from my extended social circles. Without that knowledge, and without familiarity with the meme, I can see how you could have misread this.

      ROFLCon’s organizers are both female and male, very balanced – http://roflcon.org/the-team/ One of the two co-founders, Christina Xu, was on On Point recently. http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/04/20/internet-memes I agree that brogramming and sexism are serious and upsetting issues, but the people I’ve known involved in organizing ROFLCon are almost the antithesis of that culture.

      In conclusion… I believe the meme referenced here was meant to convey “watch out! ROFLCon is coming!” — not anything sexist or excluding. I hope this reassures you.

      • Gretchen Markiewicz

         Thanks for making that point, Madeleine.  It’s indeed reassuring to know that the larger culture of ROFLCon is open and accepting.

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