Belonging and Neo-Tribalism on Social Media Site Reddit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

Social media site reddit describes itself as the ‘front page’ of the internet. The site’s 274 million month 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 ten 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 theorized 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 crystallize over time (as per Robards & Bennett 2011), but they are largely ephemeral, readily aligning with Maffesoli’s (1996) original conceptualisation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeo-Tribes
Subtitle of host publicationConsumption, Leisure and Tourism
EditorsAnne Hardy, Andy Bennett, Brady Robards
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter12
Pages187-206
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319682075
ISBN (Print)9783319682068
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • social media
  • reddit
  • belonging
  • feminism
  • gaming
  • politics
  • neo-tribes

Cite this

Robards, B. J. (2018). Belonging and Neo-Tribalism on Social Media Site Reddit. In A. Hardy, A. Bennett, & B. Robards (Eds.), Neo-Tribes: Consumption, Leisure and Tourism (pp. 187-206). Palgrave Macmillan.