One of the downsides to living on Planet Binge Viewing is that when you finish a show at 2AM, there’s never anyone there to discuss things with, to help you figure out “did she really die?” and other pressing questions made all the more pressing by the quirkiness of Peak TV Shows like The Leftovers, Westworld, and Orange Is The New Black.
One way to solve that problem is to turn the the dozens of recaps that everyone from Vulture to EW to AV Club (to name but three of our favorites) are doing. These are generally well-written and thus satisfying, and can often answer your most pressing questions while delivering a minute-by-minute rehash of what just happened (particularly valuable for those of us with failing memories.)
What they don’t do however, is provide a way for you to actually discuss the show if you come to it months after it first ran–while many recaps have an active comments section, most of those comments are from the day or so after the recap was published and if you’re first catching up several months later, they’re pretty out of date.
Which is why we’re loving Reddit.
It was music to our ears when Reddit’s CEO Alexis Ohanian took to the stage at the most excellent Worldz conference on Monday talking about (among other things) how Reddit wants to be the new water cooler for TV, the place where fans can discuss what’s going on, who killed who and who they really want to sleep with.
He further warmed our hearts by proclaiming something we’ve also proclaimed, more or less verbatim— “I don’t want to hear ten thousand people screaming “touchdown” (on Twitter.)
Not to kick Twitter when it’s down, but no one cares what dozens of uncurated strangers have to say about, well, about pretty much anything. The fact that they’re actually using hashtags to say it only makes it more irrelevant.
Rather than get soaked by the firehose that is Twitter, TV viewers are increasingly turning to Reddit, where they can find communities that match their interests (e.g., people who’ve always loved the Dallas Cowboys, people who sort of like the Dallas Cowboys, actual cowboys who like the Dallas Cowboys) in the various subreddits. And if there isn’t a subreddit that reflects their interests, they can always start one.
Ohanian’s argument is borne out by the number of times Reddit threads get called out by mainstream writers for the theories spawned on them—they’re already the place that people talk about their favorite TV shows, and the frequent media mentions only help to solidify their reputation
What Reddit needs to do now is expand its appeal to an older TV-loving audience, while making sure that Gen Z is bringing up the rear. The message board-eque format is simple enough for Gen Xers and Boomers to figure out without needing lessons from their kids (looking at you, Snapchat) and it works exceedingly well as a supplement to TV in the time of time-shifting.
While Reddit may lack the spectacle of ten thousand Tweeters all shouting “Touchdown!” at once, it more than makes up for it in terms of relevance, of ten people whose opinions you really value people who matter all yelling “Touchdown!” at once
Because while marketers may love spectacle, audiences dig relevance.
Bread, circuses and all that.