10 Internet Subcultures You Need to Know
Digital Marketing Marketing

10 Internet Subcultures You Need to Know

By Mainak Biswas September 26, 2014 - 30,409 views

Have you ever found yourself amazed at the number of internet subcultures that are around today? Ever since the evolution of Internet, there have been a number of internet subcultures that have catered to all sorts of audiences across the world.

These internet subcultures tell us a lot about how people live, how people use the Internet and how things can often change before we know. Internet subcultures can be defined as a lifestyle that is enabled by some sort of internet connectivity, but is exclusive to a certain group of people. Now, that may not seem particularly interesting but you need to know your subculture to operate within a digital space.

Digital marketing and digital professions ensure that we know what we are doing and that includes knowing all the Internet subcultures. In this article, we have compiled a list of Internet subcultures that are worthy enough of discussing. In fact, these subcultures are quite important and if you know them, you could turn out to be the more informed person of your group and that is not a bad thing at all.

  • Internet Meme

If you already didn’t know what an Internet meme is, you should probably visit the website of “Know Your Meme”. An Internet Meme is a style, action or idea that goes viral on the Internet and has a certain amount of mimicry or satire behind it. It could be anything from a picture with a caption that goes viral to a group of people dancing to the tune of Harlem Shake. A good example for this is the “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy”, who became a meme after his picture of running with a smile was published online. A simple Google search will yield a number of pictures which have been published with captions.

  • Otaku

Japan has a number of subcultures and Otaku is one of them. Before that, Japan has also inspired a number subcultures both online and offline. Otaku is a Japanese term for those who have interest that veer towards obsessions. These obsessions could be related to Manga or Anime and has had a negative connotation for a long time. However, a lot of people on the Internet have begun to identify themselves with Otaku, which relates to positive comic imagery inspired from Anime and Manga publications.

  • Manga and Anime

Manga and Anime themselves have given rise to several internet subcultures. A quick Google search will yield us a number of forums and clubs dedicated to Naruto, one of the Anime protagonists. There is also an Internet subculture that fetishizes Anime characters. The more we understand these subcultures, the better we will be able to address our target audiences. Thus, no matter how bizarre these subcultures may sound to us, we need to know them. If you have to design a social media campaign for Anime fans, you know what you should be doing: design campaigns that specifically cater to their interests!

  • Otherkin

Otherkin is a subculture of people who believe they are not human beings but ethereal beings such as vampires, ghosts, elves and even demons. They are primarily Internet-based and share their ideas, thoughts on forums that are dedicated to them. One can easily find them on social networking sites. Elvenkind Digest is one of the oldest Internet resources for Otherkin. If you plan to design a campaign for them, make sure that you know which ethereal being they most identify with and create a campaign that will attract them.

  • Cosplay

Cosplay is yet another Internet subculture that is a short form for costume play. People belonging to this subculture dress up in costumes and accessories that are inspired by a particular character. This character is usually inspired by manga, anime, video games and even films. They usually post the pictures on social networking sites and thus, their connection to the Internet is crystallized. Japanese street fashion is particularly inspired by cosplay and vice versa. One can also say that this subculture is somehow related to role play.

  • Video Game subcultures

There are a number of video games that attract huge fan followings. Super Mario, Pacman and others are immensely popular among Internet users. They predominantly use social networking sites to share their ideas and nostalgia for these games. One must be particularly attentive to their needs as video game fans are very common and most tech professionals tend to play video games anyway. One of your colleagues could be a video game fan.

  • GPS dating

With the rise of smartphones, GPS based dating applications have become very popular. They have become so popular that there are GPS based dating application for every fetish out there. There are applications for those who prefer ‘bears’ and also for those who prefer “lolitas”. In fact, online dating applications which use GPS have given rise to a new subculture. If you are planning to start a dating website or a social networking site, you need to know that there are already a number of GPS-based applications catering to every fetish out there. How different are you from them and which subculture are you targeting at? You need to answer that question.

  • Secret groups

Internet comes with a lot of secrecy, though that secrecy is not accessible to most of us. Yet, there are a number of people who use applications such as Tor to communicate in secrecy. These secret clubs and societies which are formed online give space to the disadvantaged, especially those who are unfairly prosecuted in their repressive countries. Nevertheless, a number of people have also misused these spaces, leading to blacking out of these websites. Secret groups tend to be very elusive and do not let outsiders in easily.

  • Hashtags

Surprisingly, a number of subcultures can be found readily on Twitter. These Twitter subcultures are defined by the use of their hashtags and those who use that hashtag are immediately recognized as part of a group. Thus, creating a subculture on twitter is easier than ever. Use of hashtags has become popular on Facebook too and that means, there cold already be a number of subcultures on Facebook that use hashtags that are uniquely identifiable.

  • Tumblr

Tumblr is a great place to share pictures and interact with people. Thus, it has become a great place to start new subcultures online. Most fashion subcultures are based on Tumblr and following Tumblr blogs is one of the best ways to identify the new trends among subcultures. Tumblr isn’t just based on pictures and is also related to blogging. Thus, a lot of people use Tumblr as a way to recognize each other from the same subculture.

Why understanding Internet subcultures is important for digital marketing

What we need to understand is that subcultures give people a unique sense of belongingness. Internet is a disparate medium where people with diverse interests can come together. While it is disparate, it also connects people in its own unique way. This is one of the reasons why Internet subcultures tend to be very closely knit and very active. When it comes to digital marketing, an idea about Internet subcultures is very important.

This helps us to be sensitive to particular sensibilities and create campaigns that are not only worthwhile but also successful in their own way. By attending to the aesthetic appeal of Internet subcultures, we can target niche groups that are often elusive, when it comes to Internet marketing. Understanding the quirks and unique psychographics of each group is important to be successful in a marketing campaign.

Lastly, Internet subcultures tend to be ephemeral. They do not last forever even if they last for a long time. This transience makes Internet subcultures uniquely alluring and is always a matter of interest to campaign designers. Whether you are designing a campaign for those who are into Anime and Manga or for those who think they are elves, there is always a sensitive way to approach them with commercial messages.

The fact that these subcultures also tend to be resistant to commercial messages is something that you must remember. However, when you begin to understand the reason they have moved away from mainstream Internet culture, you will be able to communicate with in a better fashion. Understanding various subcultures can hone your own digital marketing skills as it exposes you to darker corners of the Internet which you did not know existed.

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