I would like to start off by satisfying my desire for attention and acknowledgement by saying that today is my birthday. My depression over becoming an old man (20 years old. Next thing I know, I’ll be having grey hair and going senile) is being countered by the fact that everyone who’s given me gifts so far has given me something Terry Pratchett related. It wasn’t coordinated; they just all seemed to think, “Hey, you know what would be a great thing to give Omega? That new Discworld book.” (the UK version, of course. Because having extra u’s in words is great fun) or “a Discworld calendar” or “that one Discworld picture book”, etc. Fun times.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. A while ago, Zero mentioned the idea of blogs being in generations; kinda groupings based on when they were written, but also how they were written. That got me thinking, and for a long time I was considering making a full post about it.
Cept then Zero beat me to it.
Which leaves me with only one path open to me. If I am to win (yes, WIN! This is totally a contest!) then I need to make a LONGER post than he did! Because that makes complete and total sense!
I’ve divided the blogs into three generations. The divisions are based more on content than time, as there is some overlap at points where one generation began and another ended; or the occasional blog that has an earlier generations style.
The earliest Slenderblogs; a golden age, when men were sissies and codespeak was still stylish. Examples of blogs in this generation include Just Another Fool and In My Head.
The features of this generation are a more interactive ARG style, an undefined Slender Man, and a tone closer to House of Leaves than Lovecraft.
The first generation of Slenderblogs is the most unique of the three. While later blogs would be more story focused, these ones were closer to a traditional ARG, with lots of puzzle solving for the readers. When something was posted which looked like a bunch of random letters or meaningless phrases with the shift key used a few times too many, it was usually a hidden message, not a way of conveying insanity or general scariness. The largest difference between this and later generations was the actions of Slender Man. Barely anything was known about him, so he was treated like a force instead of a character; he barely even appears in JAF. The focus of the story was more on the effect Slender Man was having on the characters, and their attempts to uncover the mystery surrounding them. It’s also the reason for the “Everyone dies/goes insane in the end” cliché; fighting back wasn’t seriously considered at this stage.
Generation 1 was short lived, with only a few blogs in it before Gen 2 began. The actual transition wasn’t very clear cut; while the blogs which caused the transition are obvious, those blogs retained some of their Gen 1 influence in their style.
The one which came after Generation 1 (Hooray, I can count!)
Defined by setting up canon rules for Slender Man, introduction of proxies, and making Slender Man an antagonist figure.
The two blogs which got the ball rolling on Gen 2 were Seeking Truth and Tutorial. Stylistically, Seeking Truth would be a Gen 1 blog, except for the character Zeke Strahm. For the first time, a character willing to act aggressively against Slender Man was introduced into the Mythos, which would lead to even more blogs taking up arms against Slendy.
Tutorial, unlike ST, is very much a Gen 2 blog, with little connection to Gen 1 beyond taking place in the same mythos. Rules were established for Slender Man’s actions, the possibility of survival by running was made, and proxies were introduced not just as Masky/totheark rip-offs, but actually having their own rules guiding them.
Puzzles were almost entirely dropped in Gen 2; while they still occasionally popped up from time to time, they were rarely a large part of the story. More often than not, codes were in the comments, not the story, and tended to be from trolls/gamejackers.
The most important change from generations was how Slender Man was treated in the story. Now that he had been given rules, and been made into something to fight against, he was no longer an unstoppable force, but an actual antagonist. The conflict of the stories became less about the terrible affects Slender Man had on people, and more on a conflict against Slender Man.
This was also the time when crossover between blogs began. Instead of staying on their blogs, characters started to comment on each other’s blogs. The blogs were no longer self contained universes, but all taking place within a single setting.
Many of the Gen 2 blogs are still ongoing today, even as Generation 3 is picking up, which makes it difficult to claim that it has ended entirely.
Since Gen 2 hasn’t totally come to a close yet, it’s hard to say when the exact moment where we transitioned to the third generation happened. The time I find most likely is when Robert passed on the Sage titles.
The third generation of Slenderblogs is defined by large amounts of crossover between blogs, high amounts of proxy involvement, and Slender Man assuming a more passive, sitting back on his throne role.
The crossover thing if pretty obvious now; even on blogs with a much more Gen 2 style, you’ll still find more comments from other bloggers than you did in the past. And now, instead of being self contained stories, it’s often necessary to follow multiple blogs at once to understand the full story. This is an extension of Gen 2 practices, just taken to a further degree. It started with M, Zeke, Shaun, Jay, and Robert commenting on each other’s blogs, and occasionally mentioning them in a post. But their stories still remained mostly independent from each other, just with some character interaction. What we’ve got in Gen 3 is stories actually affecting each other, and not just in minor ways. What happens in one story can cause a character from another story to take a different course of action than they would have otherwise. It also means the occasional 100+ comment post.
And proxies. Gen 3 has way more proxies than the previous ones. Previously, blogs would have a handful of proxies in the story, who tended to just be minor distractions from the main Big Bad, Slendy. What’s happened in Gen 3 is a higher priority put onto the proxies, making it not uncommon for characters to face multiple proxies over the course of the story. What this does is turn the threat into more of a physical one than a mental one; the characters’ main worry is being stabbed by a crazy knife nut, not staying sane. When overdone, this can turn the story into something out of a zombie apocalypse movie, though instances of that happening have decreased lately.
Slender Man’s less involved behavior in Gen 3 is related to the increase in proxy attacks. Instead of tormenting individuals personally, his proxies do it for him, while he stays in the background. He tends to be reserved for more dramatic or dangerous moments.
One last note about Generation 3: I’ve seen most people put the start of Gen 3 at Zero’s “Real” post, and Redlight’s posts on White Elephants. I’d disagree with that (which should be obvious, because I did disagree with that up at the start of the Gen 3 section), for a few reasons. First off, the elements that I consider important to Generation 3 began appearing after the Sage titles were passed on, and have continued through the Real and Redlight posts. Secondly, the change in writing after those posts was not in style, but in tone. We went from “Yeah, let’s go kill that Slender Guy!” back to paranoia and insanity. All the things which are currently in Gen 3 existed before those posts; what they did was cut off a lot of the deadwood which was holding them down. Finally, I don’t like the implication that White Elephants was part of the super hero stories just because they all used Core Theory. There is a massive difference between Core Theory as was presented in WE and the Core Theory which so many people started using after the Sage transfer. WE didn’t have supernatural which couldn’t be explained away with “Slendy didn’t” (which is basically the Mythos’s equivalent of a Wizard Did It), individual proxies were a legitimate threat instead of mooks to be defeated by the dozen (the only time Robert encountered a large group of proxies, he called the police on them instead of confronting them), titles were symbols describing roles instead of grants of power, and until the Sage transfer, the tone was still dark and pessimistic. Original Core Theory was a logical conclusion of the idea that Slender Man came from the Tulpa effect, based on the nature of myths and stories in our culture. The Core Theory post WE was something else entirely.
But enough ranting. There’s been speculation on what the next generation of blogs would be like. Most guesses seem to be based on the gradual increase in optimism from the blogs. The next generation is likely to be filled with positive outlooks, and characters who are just plain awesome.
My hope is that the next generation looks something like this.