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What happens when internet subcultures get discovered by the masses

By Nicole Gallucci

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It’s Viral Market Crash week on Mashable. Join us as we take stock of the viral economy and investigate how the internet morphed from a fun free-for-all to a bleak hellscape we just can’t quit.

If we’ve learned anything from the Ken Bones and Chewbacca moms of the internet, or the graveyard of expired memes collecting virtual dust in an online database, it’s that viral fame is often fleeting. But every now and then, a weird little subculture starts trending and doesn’t stop.

Over the past decade or so, attention from the outside world has caused internet subcultures once considered niche — like the furry fandom and the Neopets and DIY communities — to transition from underground to mainstream. But when a community goes viral, what happens next? …

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