Why are we on the internet? It's fun, it's addictive, it's soul-crushing, it's heart-warming, it's everything we want it to be. It's communication through and through. The PBS Idea Channel describes communities of practice. I think this explains internet websites as a whole.
When I go to a particular website and go through the comments, everyone is communicating on the general topic of the website or webpage. When I watch a new episode for a show and read comments, and as the video says, "we are all doing it in a social context that gives meaning to what we do." I want to know the general feedback for strong (or weak) episodes and have a dialogue open to discuss the show to make my investment more meaningful. Take Game of Thrones, for example: I'm completely guilty of skipping the books but also reading spoilers online and current fan theories so I can follow the show. With this show as well, there are tons of interconnected theories that just make the reveals so much more meaningful if I'm proven to be correct in the theory I chose to believe. I wouldn't have these theories (they're not my constructs, but are my beliefs) had I not joined in the community. I share these theories with my friends who casually watch the show and my friends who have read the books twice and we all get that much more out of the show.
When your fan theory pays off after six seasons.
One such place I frequent is reddit.com. A website full of communities that make up the whole. I think it's a good assumption that most everyone reading this has heard of it, but here's a great informative video.
CGP Grey explains reddit
One such "subreddit" I read is called Life Pro Tips. people share tips about anything and everything in life - however, there are common dialects and unspoken expectations in the subreddit. Frequently, someone will post a new pro tip, it will get upvoted and then someone either corrects or changes the pro tip entirely to something new. This top comment in turn is almost always expected. Everyone always goes to the top comment for a tip because if there are mistakes or better tips, they will be upvoted and seen. A common comment is "The true LPT is always the top comment." This is a form of dialect because this community always wants the top comment to be an expansion on the original LPT which produces more conversation. For an example of this, check this thread out.
I like webcomics. I'm currently reading Dumbing of Age. There's a new comic each day with a comments section for that specific comic. Visually, they appear in a chronological hierarchy and replies are indented over to show which comment is the parent. It does get confusing but at the same time you can easily scroll through and read all or some of them. The creator enjoys creating suspense and will often leave the last panel on a day for a reveal. A common phrase is "Damn You Willis," the last name of the creator. He even names his twitter handle after this joke. It's a fun community where the author actively moderates and interacts with readers.
When you realize you have to wait another day.
Now speaking of Twitter, I frequent the site a lot. As a whole, Twitter uses hashtags to group together individual tweets about something. But my community is personal, as is everyone else's. My personal profile's sphere of influence is dictated by who follows me and who I follow.7 I follow about six times more accounts than those that follow me - what I say only reaches those select few who follow me. But I'm received information from all those other accounts that I'm following. Some accounts just exist to post a user's content while others exist just to share others by retweeting. I enjoy Twitter because the dialect used is short and in the now. No one expects you to go dig up that tweet from last year - or even a day ago. It's meant to be what you see is happening now and it's very interesting when people post updates on their personal lives. It doesn't get bogged down by big tweets either because of the 144 character limit. They do show you "What You Missed" between log ins, which is nice but sometimes not needed. I don't use Twitter to really communicate out to people, but to receive communication from other people.
Sean Morey in The Digital Writer explains the focus on kairos: "the timing of a message is more important than ever" (p. 40). I think Twitter is the ultimate example of this because of trending hashtags, circulating memes, viral videos and other multimodal media often make their way through Twitter because of retweets.
I do believe there are dialects on the internet. Each community has their own specific rules and often they are unspoken. From moderation of communication to how they use information, it's important to understand the community to which you are sharing. A misstep in your rhetoric could make you lose your credibility.