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How I Internet: Cheezburger's Ben Huh

The guy behind the LOLcat empire is obsessed with figuring out what makes the Internet work. Here's how he uses it.

Posted on June 14, 2013, at 3:58 p.m. ET

John Keatley/Redux

I Iove tech, it consumes all of my life, and I spend a shit ton of time trying to hide it from our lives. It is clunky. It feels unnatural. When I travel I have an 11-inch Macbook Air, and then I think, can't I replace this with an iPad? I'm always trying to minimize and shrink it.

I have a stack of seven tablets on my nightstand right now: The Kindle Fire, iPad1 and 3, a Window Surface Tablet. I have a Dell laptop with a floppy screen.

I want to understand where tech is going and what humans are doing with it because that influences how we see the world, how we interact with each other, consume content, and laugh. Technology that serves the users the best ends up winning. I want us to be where that is going.

Even from legal perspective: What does it mean to have the government spying on us? How are people responding that? What is it that is so interesting to people. At the WWCS. What were people enjoying and laughing about? What were people making fun of?

My job at this point at Cheezburger doesn't involve touching the content. The whole circle has come around. I am using the site like any other user. I want to understand the world like the user. I am the guinea pig.

Every once in a while I will make a meme. But mostly I am a lurker. The last big one was Tac Nayn, the opposite of Nyan Cat.

The world of memes is so varied and diverse. It used to be few years ago that memes had a shelf life of several weeks and month and you could get to know it and rebuild on it. And now memes are fused with entertainment in general and it's hard to separate one from the other. I'm trying to figure out what that means to people. Who is the next level of adoptees?

Animated gifs and memes are more high production in quality. TV is more audience engaged and user generated. There is an art form to animated gifs. The mainstream media, like CNN or the New York Times tried to do an animated gif and I wanted throw up it was so jaggedy.

[My favorite memes] are rage comics. They have a Seinfeldian format about everyday life. Their crudeness is a great format to share personal and common frustrations.


I use tech for everything. I am constantly looking for ways to replace routine human tasks with automation technology and innovation.

I bought a treadmill desk last year. It's great for the winter. When I first got it, I almost fell off twice. You must respect the equipment. Certain tasks are good for it— reading blogs and email—but it's not great for doing complex thinking. Trust me.

Tech comes and finds me because more and more what I do personally or in the home is based on my phone. It used to be I go home and charge my phone. Now it is next to me before I'm about to go to bed. I want a work or home mode for my phone, which shuts off notifications for certain apps and creates a temporary screen.

Five years ago pre-iPhone, my wife and I never texted each other. You just call and leave voicemail and it was such as waste of time. Now, I will be waiting outside the house I will text, 'I am in car waiting for you.' It is a short business communication tool but SMS messaging works [at home.]

I am unnecessarily brief. I could probably spend more time adding more context and color to interactions, but I'm in the mode of efficiency.

We are sometimes sitting next to each other at home and we get on [Google] Hangout and chat. If we are watching tv, you don't want to interrupt. You see a lot of couples doing that more and more.

Even when we are out for a nice dinner I'm constantly fiddling with my phone. This is like a disease that so many of us are afflicted with this. It's an umbilical cord we can't get rid of. My wife doesn't get mad, but she will be like, 'Really? We are just having a conversation.' I know. But I'm addicted. She isn't even close to using it as much.

[Interruption: Wait, they just announced the iOS7 update ability to use your phone as a flashlight with the press of a button. For the love of god! Finally! I am seriously excited about it. Right now I've got to unlock screen, swipe up into camera, turn it to video and turn the light on. I'm not going to open an app for this, but it takes a while. Now there is a button. It only took six years.]

I don't know what to do with my Twitter account. I don't feel like I have all that interesting stuff to say right now. It's just me being me. I'm not trying to be a brand on Twitter as a lot of people are.

I try not to use it too much. The SOPA thing helped me understand that there are times to mobilize and times to relax and have fun. Constant activism from people who are not supposed to be activists is tiring to people.

I use Path a lot. It is more controlled environment for me. It allows me to connect with environment that I want. People are active. It's a more private environment. All the mistakes we made with Facebook, we don't make: we aren't as crazy with adding friends and people we don't know. It's like Facebook, but we are a lot wiser.

Twitter has been my go to [for humor.] This is power of social. It almost feels like it is coming to find you. I don't follow anyone particularly funny. My friends have terrible senses of humor but they are good enough. Path is interesting. It is personal. It's hard to import from other sources. It is the inside joke system.