Several recent things about internet language!
I’m quoted in this lexicon of current internet language on Gizmodo:
Capital letters are OBVIOUSLY for emphasis. Enabled by the caps-lock key, they first may have evolved as a mistake. “In early generations of internet language, people who don’t use capitalizations or punctuation are seen as people who can’t type,” says Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist who runs Slate’s language blog. Now that everyone knows how to type, the capitals are often used ironically, or even meta-ironically, both sincere and commenting on its possible insincere jokiness, DON’T YOU GET IT JEEZ MOM. See also: aLtErNaTiNg CaPs
And today I talked to the Kojo Nnamdi Show about internet dialects, which aired live on WAMU and which you can also stream online here. I can’t copy-paste an excerpt since it was radio, not text, but key topics I remember talking about included stylized verbal incoherence mirroring emotional incoherence, doge, and “because x”. See also my entire internet language category, which is running to about seven pages these days.
Also on Kojo with me were mikerugnetta, who has a video on internet dialects and especially tildes on the PBS Idea Channel, and Naomi Baron, who wrote the book Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World. So that was a fun excuse to meet other interesting language people, although unfortunately the constraints of radio interviews meant we didn’t have a whole lot of time to actually just talk with each other. Maybe next time!