I would definitely say I’m well-immersed in internet culture, but I have never once been to 4chan. I heard about it a lot in high school and later, but I guess I never understood the idea that everything was a joke and so I never really felt the need to check it out. To me, claiming everything is a joke is like a kind of denial. Deep down I think these types know that if they were to step back and see what’s really going on they’d become uncomfortable with what they’re doing… which is why they refuse to do that. Eventually, what started as them not fitting into society morphs into a refusal to even try to fit in to society. Even saying the word society like that is too narrow because it brings to mind a lot of really narrowly-defined and often false images of what “society” is.
Really, there isn’t much difference between the disaffected youths of today and those of the past eras except for the internet. What used to be small collections of snarky teenage brats whose ideas were unsustainable in common society is now a massive conglomerate reinforcing itself inside their echo chambers, never needing to look outside their skewed viewpoints. The internet subcultures in a sense have become just as much of an alternate reality as any video game.