Neo-Tribes pp 187-206 | Cite as

Belonging and Neo-Tribalism on Social Media Site Reddit

Chapter

Abstract

Social media site reddit describes itself as the ‘front page’ of the internet. The site’s 274 million monthly users share, discuss, ‘up-vote’ and ‘down-vote’ a wide array of content found on the internet: news, pictures of cats, deep philosophical discussions, scientific breakthroughs, pornography, advice columns, GIFs of people falling over—reddit has it all. The most ‘up-voted’ content rises to the top of the site, while less current and less interesting content ‘sinks’. The site is divided into more than 10 thousand active (and many more less active) ‘subreddits’, framed as communities organised around a particular topic. In this chapter, by looking at four case studies, I push beyond the contentious descriptor of reddit as ‘a type of online community’ to consider the systems of belonging on reddit (via everyday labour) as more akin to the temporally situated, purposive neo-tribes theorised by Maffesoli (1996) and Bennett (1999) Reddit, and many of the site’s subreddits, operate on a very specific shared set of languages and conventions, rules, expectations, and rituals. Reddit neo-tribes can crystallise over time (as per Robards and Bennett), but they are largely ephemeral, readily aligning with Maffesoli’s (1996) original conceptualisation.

References

  1. Banks, D. (2012). Sherry Turkle’s Chronic Digital Dualism Problem. Cyborgology. https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2012/04/23/sherry-turkles-chronic-digital-dualism-problem/. Accessed 23 Mar 2017.
  2. Barthel, M., Stocking, G., Holcomb, J., & Mitchell, A. (2016). Nearly Eight-in-Ten Reddit Users Get News on the Site, 1–44. http://www.journalism.org/2016/02/25/seven-in-ten-reddit-users-get-news-on-the-site/. Accessed 15 Apr 2017.
  3. Bennett, A. (1999). Subcultures or Neo-Tribes? Rethinking the Relationship Between Youth, Style and Musical Taste. Sociology, 33(3), 599–617. https://doi.org/10.1177/S0038038599000371 Google Scholar
  4. Bennett, A. (2005). In Defence of Neo-Tribes: A Response to Blackman and Hesmondhalgh. Journal of Youth Studies, 8(2), 255–259. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676260500149402 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Braithwaite, A. (2016). Its About Ethics in Games Journalism? Gamergaters and Geek Masculinity. Social Media + Society, 2(4), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305116672484 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen, M. G. (2008). Communication, Coordination, and Camaraderie in World of Warcraft. Games and Culture, 4(1), 47–73. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412008325478 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cova, B., & Cova, V. (2002). Tribal Marketing: The Tribalisation of Society and Its Impact on the Conduct of Marketing. European Journal of Marketing, 36(5–6), 595–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crawford, K. (2009). Following You: Disciplines of Listening in Social Media. Continuum, 23(4), 525–535. https://doi.org/10.1080/10304310903003270 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gibson, M. (2007). Death and Mourning in Technologically Mediated Culture. Health Sociology Review, 16(5), 415–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Haythornthwaite, C. (2002). Strong, Weak, and Latent Ties and the Impact of New Media. The Information Society, 18(5), 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jurgenson, N. (2011). Digital Dualism Versus Augmented Reality. Cyborgology. https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/02/24/digital-dualism-versus-augmented-reality/. Accessed 23 Mar 2017.
  13. Kanai, A. (2017). Girlfriendship and Sameness: Affective Belonging in a Digital Intimate Public. Journal of Gender Studies, 26(3), 293–306. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2017.1281108 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kriwoken, L., & Hardy, A. (2017). Neo-Tribes and Antarctic Expedition Cruise Ship Tourists. Annals of Leisure Research, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/11745398.2017.1286512
  15. Leavitt, A. (2015). This Is a Throwaway Account. In CSCW’15 Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (pp. 317–327). New York: ACM Press. https://doi.org/10.1145/2675133.2675175
  16. Maffesoli, M. (1996). The Time of the Tribes: The Decline of Individualism in Mass Society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Martin, T. (2017). Dissecting Trump’s Most Rapid Online Following’, FiveThirtyEight. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/dissecting-trumps-most-rabid-online-following/. Accessed 15 Apr 2017.
  18. Massanari, A. (2015). # Gamergate and the Fappening: How Reddit’s Algorithm, Governance, and Culture Support Toxic Technocultures. New Media & Society, 19(3), 329–346. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444815608807 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Massanari, A. L. (2017). “Come for the Period Comics. Stay for the Cultural Awareness”: Reclaiming the Troll Identity Through Feminist Humor on Reddit’s/r/TrollXChromosomes. Feminist Media Studies, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2017.1414863
  20. Matias, J. N. (2015). What Just Happened on Reddit? Understanding the Moderator Blackout. Social Media Collective Blog. https://socialmediacollective.org/2015/07/09/what-just-happened-on-reddit-understanding-the-moderator-blackout/. Accessed July 2017.
  21. Mills, R. A. (2017). Pop-up Political Advocacy Communities on reddit.com: SandersForPresident and the Donald. AI & Society, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-017-0712-9
  22. Milner, R. M. (2016). The World Made Meme: Public Conversations and Participatory Media. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  23. Pulos, A. (2013). Confronting Heteronormativity in Online Games: A Critical Discourse Analysis of LGBTQ Sexuality in World of Warcraft. Games and Culture, 8(2), 77–97. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412013478688 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Reddit.com. (2017a). Audience and Demographics. https://reddit.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/205183225-Audience-and-Demographics. Accessed 13 Feb 2017.
  25. Reddit.com. (2017b). “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Snatches Emmy Nomination for Best Reality Program. https://www.reddit.com/r/gaybros/comments/6n9n05/rupauls_drag_race_snatches_emmy_nomination_for/. Accessed 26 May 2017.
  26. Robards, B., & Bennett, A. (2011). MyTribe: Post-subcultural Manifestations of Belonging on Social Network Sites. Sociology, 45(2), 303–317. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038510394025 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Summit-Gil, B. (2017). Is Reddit a Community? Cyborgology. https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2017/03/23/is-reddit-a-community/. Accessed 21 May 2017.
  28. Turkle, S. (2011). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  29. u/jedberg. (2010). What Percentage of Redditors Are Lurkers? reddit.com/r/AskReddit. Comment made on March 21, 2010. https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/bg7b8/what_percentage_of_redditors_are_lurkers/c0mm7yy/. Accessed 12 May 2017.
  30. u/Treteste. (2017). ANNOUNCEMENT: The Future of r/The_Donald. Post made on May 20, 2017. https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/6cbkhm/announcement_the_future_of_rthe_donald/. Accessed 22 Apr 2017.
  31. van der Nagel, E. (2013). Faceless Bodies: Negotiating Technological and Cultural Codes on reddit gonewild. Scan: Journal of Media Arts Culture, 10(2), 1–10.Google Scholar
  32. van der Nagel, E., & Frith, J. (2015). Anonymity, Pseudonymity, and the Agency of Online Identity: Examining the Social Practices of r/Gonewild. First Monday, 20(3), 1–12.Google Scholar
  33. Vorobjovas-Pinta, O., & Robards, B. (2017). The Shared Oasis: An Insider Ethnographic Account of a Gay Resort. Tourist Studies, 17(4), 1–18.Google Scholar
  34. Zimmer, M. (2010). “But the Data Is Already Public”: On the Ethics of Research in Facebook. Ethics and Information Technology, 12(4), 313–325. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-010-9227-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Sciences, Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations