The Online Audience: Individuals or Communities? | The Wednesday Article

Naturally, British culture expands and grows every year. Within that, we create our own subcultures, groups and communities. Whilst we may not like being labelled, we can’t complain when we enjoy the benefits that come with belonging to a specific, restricted subculture. But when an audience is grouped together, do we value group privileges over our own individuality?

In terms of this debate, the answer lies in two of the most popular social media platforms. On YouTube, numerous ‘YouTubers’ or vloggers have often spoken out about the dangers of fandoms on the video-sharing site. In particular, some have talked about the risk of an aggressive fandom if an audience is grouped together. Another example is this video by Thomas ‘TomSka’ Ridgewell, entitled No Fandom.

However, micro-blogging site Tumblr presents the other side of the equation. For users of the site, the fandom aspect is one thing which makes Tumblr what it is. It is the site for sharing in-jokes, references and reactions to TV shows, films and books. But when everyone has the same thoughts on the show, is it possible for a member of the community to express an individual opinion and feel involved in the subculture at the same time?

So whilst users in YouTube comments may turn nasty if grouped into a community, fandoms on Tumblr thrive for an individual connection with the show, book etc. they love.

With that in mind, is there any way to satisfy an online audience?

What do you think? If you’re a blogger, do you refer to your audience as an individual, or a collective? Vote in the poll above and comment below!



4 thoughts on “The Online Audience: Individuals or Communities? | The Wednesday Article

  1. This is a tricky thing. I myself do the whole YouTube thingy (as you know) and, like many others, we often strive to gain a larger audience. Some people do it for popularity only, others, like myself, do it to become noticed by a larger audience and gain recognition in the field of filmmaking and production of digital media. Having a collective fanbase can be good as it means that people will usually return to check out your work and provide feedback and, as long as you manage that collective in a responsible way, you can really get some great things out of it.

    On the other side of the coin, I do however like the idea of individuality. Individualism is great for receiving personal feedback that will apply to the perspective of that singular person. Upon hearing thirty or so people (and I’m lucky to get that!) all tell you what you’ve made was “well made”, you do really want to seek out the individual feedback – which thankfully many of my followers do.

    I think it can be great for an audience to be identified as a whole BUT only if the ‘leader’ of that audience can control it well. A community online can really help people feel a part of something, but by the same token, I would encourage that people, while still being part of a ‘fandom’, still contribute their own opinions instead of just following the crowd.

    I don’t have much experience with Tumblr. I joined a while ago but didn’t see it to be that exciting and moved on. YouTube is definitely a great place for community, but again, only if it’s managed in a responsible way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such interesting views! Thank you so much for your comment, Bob.

      That’s intriguing to hear from both sides – as a creator and a member of an audience/community. Of course, you address your audience on YouTube as your ‘loyal fanbase’. Would you say that you have control of your community?


      • I only have a small channel in the grand scheme of YouTube things, so I definitely have control. Also, with my community, most of us are friends who support each other. Of the people I am aware of (the ones that comment and give feedback each week), there are very few people (excluding the folks local to me) who aren’t involved in our small community.

        It’s larger people with well over 100,000 subscribers that have difficulty controlling their audience. When people identify as part of a collective, they will often go to the end of the Earth just to protect their views and the attributes of that collective. And if you upset one person in a collective of a large scale, you can expect to receive negativity from many more than just that one person!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely, and in terms of YouTube that has often been the case for people such as PewDiePie and Jacksepticeye. I think it’s trying to avoid creating a ‘group think’ or pack mentality too, which is a problem.


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