As part of my auto-ethnographic exploration of anime and manga, I’ve decided to base the majority of my experience on Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” This will give me the opportunity to not only interact with the communities discussing these topics, but also make a bit of an experience for myself, exposing myself to new content, and furthering my understanding of the platform, helping me to assist others to understand the platform.
The reason I chose to look into Reddit is because I believe it’s a valuable platform to understand. As Tornoe states in his journal article, Reddit 101:
“Reddit, with its large readership and thousands of user-controlled subcategories, is quickly becoming an important tool for journalists to understand and master. Not only is it a potential treasure trove of human interest stories and local news leads, it should also be part of every newsroom’s social media strategy to drive Web traffic.”
This week I took that dive into Reddit, and I can freely admit that I felt mildly apprehensive doing so. This was because firstly, although I’ve ‘lurked’ on Reddit for a few years, I’ve never actually properly participated. Secondly, I was aware that on Reddit, if you don’t share content that the community likes you can both be ‘downvoted’ to hell, or receive colourful criticism from anonymous community members.
My first step was to make an account. I named it “OneSummersDay,” named after the beautiful opening theme from Spirited Away. I then searched for a range of sub-reddits, subscribing to r/anime, r/manga, r/japan, r/otaku, among a few others.
In an experimental first post, I submitted a gif on r/otaku last night, labeling it, “MRW I get to study anime & manga for a Uni Subject.” I then tried to submit a question in r/cosplay, asking people about their first convention experience, to which I was refused to post since I was a new user, the platform informing me that, “you may have to wait a bit to post again.” I decided to go to bed.
The morning after I finally posted the question to r/cosplay, and then went to see how my previous post had gone. I was actually surprised to find that my post was at the very top of r/otaku with 28 upvotes and a few comments asking about the subject with a few lamenting how they wished they could also study anime and manga. Despite the pleasant surprise, I received no comments on my r/cosplay question, the post buried amongst pictures of cosplayers.
Overall, it’s already provided to be an interesting experience, and I’m eager to see what the journey awaits. Just now I’ve asked r/manga about the worst manga they’ve read and I’m already getting responses. Let’s see how this goes.
Update: The r/manga post is getting heaps of really interesting comments! Fantastic!
Tornoe, R. 2013, “REDDIT 101”, Editor & Publisher, vol. 146, no. 5, pp. 24-26.