What is the Slender Man?
The Slender Man is an internet meme, first started by Victor Surge on the internet forum Something Awful, as part of a photoshop contest in June of 2009. Appearing hidden in the background of seemingly innocent photographs, the abnormally tall man in a black suit with no face quickly had a number of stories written about him, turning him into a paranormal creature of unknown origins who stalks, kidnaps, and kills children, as well as any adults seeking to save them. The malevolent entity became the antagonist of a series of horror stories.
How did this all start?
A few weeks after the inital wave of photoshops and popularity on Something Awful, the Slender Man was exposed to the larger world by Marble Hornets, the first Slender Man Youtube series, created by a group of Alabama college students. With no certainty as to wether the story in the videos was fictional or not, the videos went viral and grew in popularity on Unfiction. The first blog based story began in July of 2009, Just Another Fool, which established the beginning of the mythos expanded universe. As the first “season” of Marble Hornets wound down in early 2010, several other vlogs and blogs telling their own stories about the Slender Man surfaced, and since then the mythos has exploded in size, growing not only in audience, but in the number of audience members who have begun to participate in the experience by creating stories of their own.
About how many people are actually involved here?
While the audience reach of each individual story varies, as of June 16, 2011, Marble Hornets has 75,749 subscribers and the 68 videos making up it’s story have been viewed a total of 18,000,000 times. Yet some of the blog based stories have less than 5 readers. As for active community members, it’s difficult to draw an estimate. Amongst the creators, approximately 150 mythos writers cooperate, collaborate, and peer review each other’s work in private channels.
There’s a lot here. Do I need to read all of it?
Oh god no. I haven’t even broken the 20% mark of reading/viewing all of it. Most of the video series are well worth your time, and several blogs have been marked as “classics” by community consensus. In a few instances, it may be necessary to read 2-3 blogs concurrently if their plots are tightly woven together. Crossover events occur often in blogs, but are usually short, self-contained, and don’t require extensive knowledge of the other storyline.
What are the requirements to join the mythos?
Technically speaking, none. If you’ve got a story idea, by all means, pursue it. If your work is of a high quality, it will flourish and spread virally amongst the community. If it isn’t, there’s no real penalty aside from a blow to your reputation and ego. Learn from it and move on, or head in a new direction with it.