Television's social-media marketers must have blinders on. Reddit boasts a goldmine of online fan communities. It’s hardly in hiding, but just about no one in TV seems to have found it.
Erik Martin, Reddit’s general manager, recently discussed the social news site’s huge potential for changing how television shows interact with fans in an interview with Lost Remote.
What makes Reddit different than Twitter or Facebook?
“Reddit is not social in the sense that you are talking about a show to your extended friends. It’s more about connecting with complete strangers who share your glorious obsessions,” Martin told Lost Remote. “It’s more similar to a fansite or messageboard than it is to Facebook or Twitter.”
What that means, in practical terms, is a wealth of feedback, discussion, and creative reimaginings. And unlike on Twitter and Facebook, fan feedback on Reddit is centralized, publicly available, and structured around specific topics. That makes it an easy-to-follow—an instant home for user feedback and interaction.
A prime example is Reddit’s r/community section. That series’s creator, Dan Harmon (pictured above), is a frequent reader and occasional commenter at r/community. His visits helped spur the growth and enthusiasm of the subreddit, which, at 55,000 readers, has been instrumental in building buzz around the show—and keeping it afloat as it suffered from flagging ratings.
Members of r/community are even creating a video game based on a fictional one that appeared in a recent episode of Community. That type of creative fan collaboration is far easier on Reddit than places like Twitter or Facebook.
But as Martin noted, Harmon and r/community are very much exceptions to the rule. Martin sees a future where TV brands “launch, raise funds, develop a community, and then distribute their content all on Reddit.” But even he admitted that’s a long way down the road: 10 years, at least.
Here’s some free advice for anyone involved with those shows: Register an account on Reddit and start a conversation. You’ll be pretty amazed at the results.
Photo via Dan Harmon