Tall, Dark, and Loathsome: The Emergence of a Legend Cycle in the Digital Age
Abstract

The faceless, tall, eerily long-limbed humanoid clad in a black suit emerged in an online forum as a pair of photoshops and a half-dozen lines of text. Soon, this so-called “Slender Man” began appearing in images, videos, stories, and blogs across the Internet. By sharing, discussing, and commenting on these artifacts using 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 cycle 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.


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