Tall, Dark, and Loathsome: The Emergence of a Legend Matrix in the Digital Age
The faceless, tall, eerily long-limbed humanoid clad in a black suit emerges in an online forum as a pair of photoshops and a half dozen lines of text. Soon, this so-called “Slender Man” begins appearing in images, videos, stories, and blogs across the Internet. By sharing, discussing, and commenting on these artifacts in participatory media, users create legendary narratives and audio/visual “evidence” that present researchers with a new kind of digital folk practice. Enabled by the affordances of digital and social networks, this digital legend matrix serves as an example of a new form of digital folklore that combines the generic conventions of oral and visual storytelling with the collaborative potential of networked communication.