Fandoms: Reddit vs. Tumblr

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You may or may not have heard about Fandoms. (If not, click here.)  Fandoms are groups of people that are unbelievably passionate about “something”. Comic books, TV shows and movies are some of the more powerful fandoms. (Sherlock, Supernatural and Dr. Who are known as the big 3. Also known as Superwholock.) The most passionate members of these groups spend up to 60 hours a week talking about/creating/sharing content with/for their peers. Some have created fanfiction of over 250,000 pages. Their passion makes an NFL fan look like someone in a coma.

When it comes to fandoms, there are primarily two social venues where they congregate. Reddit and Tumblr. If your not familiar with these outposts you should take a look. The rundown below is painfully brief but will give you some idea of how they work.

  • Reddit is a text-based forum with hundreds of thousands of subreddits dedicated to areas of interest. Content is upvoted and users are analytical about their passions. It has also been referred to by some as the ugliest site on the web.
  • Tumblr is a personal micro-blogging platform. When uploading content, the interface allows you to categorize your content into several categories with the vast majority of posts being image-based or video.

Some people use both of these to keep up on their fandoms and yet there are 2 essential differences. Those differences piggyback on the type of content that’s created and shared.

  • Reddit users are more analytical about there fandoms. That’s not to say that there aren’t emotions expressed. There are, but that isn’t the majority of posts.
  • Tumblr users express their love for their fandoms through memes, screenshots, etc. Again, there are exceptions but the most communicate visually.

This is an important distinction when thinking about reaching out to either audience. On Reddit, an AMA (Ask Me Anything) can be an amazing way to connect with the audience for your new movie.  To empower your fans on Tumblr, you may include screencaps of your new film and encourage your most passionate fans to create a meme for specific scenes. (There are many meme generators out there.) These tactics speak to the fans communication style and are fairly standard. The goal is to take these behaviors and create something unique. Something those fans will embrace.

Lastly, be careful. Don’t act like you’re a fan if you’re not. Fans can smell posers 1000 miles away.

By Michael Myers

I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently interested in artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, cycling, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive + surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and tattooing.

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