Internet Culture Backlash: Hipster Runoff Content Farm

For the last few years Hipster Runoff has been the de facto leader in criticizing hipster and internet culture through an amazing lens of half joking / half serious / half none of the above.  The anonymous creator and writer for the site Carles is as much of an Internet construct as the topics he covers.  He’s never revealed his true identity, although there are plenty of online theories. He was interviewed by The Village Voice in 2009 and it really ended up creating more questions then it answered.

via Hipster Runoff

Part of the allure of the satire Hipster Runoff specializes in is the mystique surrounding the writer, who could possibly be perpetuating one of the most elaborate ruses in Internet history.  Hipster Runoff started out as a music critic blog, but over the years expanded its focus to popular culture, and the web culture.  Very often the tone is very hard to pin down especially if you’re unfamiliar with the site or the concept behind it.  It’s basically meta-satire in motion; the idea of poking fun at things through a voice that itself is purposefully imitating the very things that it’s satirizing.

via Hipster Runoff

Although the majority of (Hipster Runoff ) HRO content is satirical in nature, every once in a while Carles will write a  post that’s an extremely astute take on the nature of Internet blogging and what actually drives the momentum of memes and disposable culture.  One of the most interesting pieces that arose from the site, which garnered substantial press around the web, was Carles’ coverage and main thinkpiece about Lana Del Rey.  In his post “Lana & Me: Our Dark, Abusive, Co-Dependent Relationship on the Content Farm” he critiqued the idea of blogs existing as empty vessels that need stories like the Del Rey backlash to simply fulfill “content farming” needs to perpetuate and invent stories to increase unique page views which only equate to more advertising revenue.  The most interesting aspect of the post was the idea of Carles critiquing the motives of online music criticism while at the same he’s one of the largest culprits of embracing the empty notion of needing to invent content to maintain the success of a site.

via Hipster Runoff

Carles’ “Content Farm” post really brings up interesting cultural notions of exactly why these websites and platforms perpetuate certain stories over others.  As he pointed out and displayed in an Alexa search query result, people were going to HRO just to see what new take he had on the entire Lana Del Rey backlash, instead of deriving their own opinion about her music, which is really the only reason she was known in the first place.  A lot of websites and blogs put relevance on snark and being able to spin a story to maximize their SEO results, and even though Carles is a major facet of the content farm vantage point, at least he’s astute enough to identify the current online climate of blog scavengers combing the web for the next buzz sustenance to satisfy their audience.  Carles knows that he perpetuates the idea of a content farm as much as any other blog, but it’s his take on the culture and self awareness to critique it that sets him apart from all the other sites.

via Hipster Runoff

Very often what Carles accomplishes feels very similar to what Stephen Colbert has mastered over the years.  The persona he’s created is so convincing that it’s almost more realistic and authentic then the very stories and politics he covers.  Colbert said in an interview with Rolling Stone that he always talks to his guests ahead of time and tells them to be prepared for his ridiculous line of questioning to make sure that they’re not offended by his absurd brand of punditry.  Between his anonymity and extremely scant explanations on his perspective behind the site, Carles has created an entirely new level of satire that’s probably some of the most confounding and insightful critiques about the absurdity of online culture; by creating and writing for Hipster Runoff it’s almost become his own personal backlash on the entire online experience.


Hipster Runoff!/hipsterrunoff

The Village Voice


Rolling Stone



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