Monday, March 02, 2015

The relevance of Reddit

Reddit boasts a popular and large community of wrestling fans in their SquaredCircle subreddit.

With over 65,000 "Wredditors" and several thousand "in attendance" at any moment, it's a powerful forum for sharing content or discussing information. However, it's a very volatile crowd.

In trying to understand the difference between the wants (and hates) of the community and the reaction they have to news, I came across a very interesting piece of research by Ryan Carse ("Is Professional Wrestling Coverage a Form of Journalism?"). I wrote about this last July and had Ryan on my Wrestlenomics Radio podcast that month.

Consider these graphs from his paper:

As I noted in December in a post on the Wrestling Observer/F4W message board:
I thought it was fascinating that:
a) 89% of the respondents said they were between 18 and 34 years old.
b) 96% of the respondents said they were male
c) 97% of the respondents say they read news about pro-wrestling BUT only 2% say they subscribe to the Wrestling Observer yet 71% of the respondents consider the Wrestling Observer to be reputable/very reputable (with less than 5% considering it as not reputable).
Compare that to WWE Viewer Demographics: ... phics.htmlWWE only estimates 23% of their audience is in the 18-34 years old and only 65% is male.

When I realized how skewed the SquaredCircle reddit is suddenly things made a lot more sense. That's not to suggest that we're not "skewed" here either, but it helps to understand the difference between representing the average WWE viewer and the person who is posting on these boards (this board included).
I know that adecorativedrop asked the question in January at reddit, "Why do only 2% read the WON but 71% consider it reputable?" but didn't get much response short of "we're cheap" and "it gets reported at other places for free".

Vince McMahon loves to decry that "vocal minority" (mistranscribed as "local minority") is the source of rumpus such as the backlash against Roman Reigns and the #cancelwwenetwork hashtag. In same ways, he's right that there are large segments of the viewing audience which are underrepresented in places like reddit, pro wrestling message boards and so forth. Whether it's better that the tail wags the dog or vice versa remains a larger discussion.

I do think back to what Dave Meltzer wrote in the March 2, 2015 issue on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
Really, I’d rather somebody wrote a book from start-to-finish rather than readers who have no real understanding of book writing trying to force changes so the little sidekick who is supposed to be a bit player gets the girl and not the handsome lead who the whole book was built around.
I learned long ago that a good promoter listens to the fans, and a great promoter completely manipulates the fans. But the idea is that both make the fans want not what they tell the promoter they want, but what the promoter wants in the first place, because he has a better grasp than they do about business.
Ultimately, there's got to be a sense that WWE (namely Vince McMahon) really understands what he wants in the first place and what he accomplishes when he gets it. It's been a difficult two years as the Daniel Bryan plans have revealed the reluctance to change direction, but also the challenges poised by major rising stars (Reigns & Bryan) being injured in the middle of their big ascension.

No comments: