Anonymous is not group. It is not an organization. Rob Walker describes Anonymous as a “loosely affiliated and ever-changing band of individuals who… have been variously described as hackers, hacktivists, free-expression zealots, Internet troublemakers, and assorted combinations thereof.”
But when Anonymous came up against the Church of Scientiology, a small, non-hierarchical collection of Anons decided to take the disparate phrases, images and ideas circling around the 4Chan.org /b/ message board (where Anonymous has its roots) and combine them into a very engaging and effective “brand identity” (For lack of a better word. Is there a better word? I’d love to hear it. -rm).
In this episode, Rob Walker explores the origins of the meme-like images in the Anonymous “visual brand” and explains why these icons so powerfully define a phenomenon that eschews definition.
This piece was produced by me and Rob Walker based on his article “Recognizably Anonymous” in Slate.
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