H*ckin good study into online language

The utterly wonderful and charming @dog_rates account – whereby dogs are given a rating out of 10 (such as, er, 13/10) – is a regular bundle of internet joy, one which I have written about in the past.

What makes the account so effective is not just the foolproof concept of cute dogs, but the use of language to cultivate the sense of a global in-joke. Here’s how I (rather hopelessly) tried to explain it in my piece:

Dogs aren’t just dogs. They’re doggos. Puppies are puppers. And while not all puppers can be considered doggos, all doggos are most certainly puppers. Or woofers. Woofers that bork. If you want, you can boop a doggo’s snoot. That is – to lightly bop on one’s nose.

What is less clear is how and why certain phrases catch on to such an extent they take on a life of their own. However, a new paper titled (seriously) “This Paper is About Lexical Propagation on Twitter. H*ckin Smart. 12/10. Would Accept!” examines the phenomena. Here’s the abstract:

This paper presents an observational study of lexical propagation across online social networking platforms. By focusing on the highly followed @dog_rates Twitter account, we explore how a popular account’s unique style of language propagates outside of the account’s immediate follower community within Twitter. Initial results show a strong relationship between the prevalence of this account’s language-specific features and the account’s followership and popularity. Expanding this research across platforms, we demonstrate consistency in these results outside Twitter, as the @dog_rates vernacular shows a similarly strong relationship between use on Reddit and the account’s followership over time.

Tell the truth, I don’t have access to the full paper. But, well, if you do… let me know what you find out.