Snark Communities And The Anti-Fan Are On The Rise – Jarastyle Teen’s



About Snark Communities

Snark communities and the anti-fan are on the rise. It used to be the comments section of influencer’s posts that might attract some disdain from followers but now there are whole threads, communities and websites dedicated to opinions on what influencers post. We look at why they exist and what impact have they on influencers and their campaigns.

What is the definition of snark? According to to snark means ‘to be critical in a rude or sarcastic way’. Anti-fans tend to be those who fall out of love with their favourite influencers and social media stars. 

Reddit is home to what is known as snark communities. These communities were apparently set up to hold influencers accountable for their actions and messaging, and some have in some part done this, there is also an element of venting too. 

As an example, one of the many snark communities on Reddit is the NYC Influencers community. It has 93,000 members and has quite specific rules to follow, although a look at some of the posts leave some doubt about how strict the mods are. Some of the rules include no attacking other users this includes bullying, harassment, doxxing, trolling, hate speech, no body shaming or body snark, follow Reddit guidelines -including no bullying, harassment, hate speech, etc., and do not contact any influencers in relation to this sub and do not encourage other users to contact.

There are plenty of snark communities dedicated to individual influencers and celebrities such as Alix Earle, Colleen Ballinger, Alex Cooper (Call Her Daddy), Brittney Matthews, Megan Markle and also family accounts like the Duggar Family or the LaBrants. In fact the snark community’s commentary became fodder for the Amazon Prime’s docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets.

Time reported that scandals surrounding the Duggar family and the Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP) had appeared on the subreddits and also a YouTube channel by creator Jen Bryant. Her Fundie Fridays videos where she tells stories and discusses Christian fundamentalism, earned her a spot as a contributing voice to the docuseries. Perhaps a positive can come out of these snark communities. 

The negative side of it is it can lead to misinformation, fuel conspiracy theories or doxing. Audiences often think that because a figure is putting themselves in a public-facing role they are somehow evoking all rights to privacy. 

One example of where commenters seem to have taken it a bit too far is on Pachatzke Snark community on Reddit. The subreddit has 5,000 members and it would appear that Katie Pachatzke is one of those herself, and she has in the past interacted with the community. Long story short, (you can tie all the ends together yourself here) Pachatzke seems to be accusing the community of attempting to contact a family member. Something that did pop up in a search for Pachatzke, who it would seem closed her social media accounts and now uses a work account, is a petition created by herself to ensure ‘tighter guidelines for snark pages and stricter rules’.

Speaking of petitions, another site that has a petition against it is Tattle Life, and this one is to close it down. Tattle Life is a forum which is dedicated to gossip and snark. Officially, it says it is a commentary website on public business social media accounts. We allow commentary and critiques of people that choose to monetise their personal life as a business and release it into the public domain.

The petition to close down Tattle Life was started in 2019 and for the attention of a British Member of Parliament. The petition was started by Michelle Chapman who at the time was a YouTuber called Mummy Chelle but has since disappeared from the platform. She wrote on the petition, ‘For the past 6-8 months I’ve had nothing but relentless abuse, bullying, harassment, discrimination even doxing from this forum,” and went on to say, ‘I’ve had my looks, my health and more spoken about very derogatory. They’ve even been really cruel about my young children’. 

It begs the question, why do people follow these influencers of they appear not to like them? You have to wonder why these communities are so popular and on the rise. Apparently, we crave what is called ‘hate following’ – its extreme but human nature. 

According to Professor Semir Zeki of University College London, our neural circuits expressing love and hate are very similar. “Hate is often considered to be an evil passion that should, in a better world, be tamed, controlled and eradicated. Yet to the biologist, hate is a passion that is of equal interest to love,” Professor Zeki told The Independent.

In their research for the paper When parasocial relationships turn sour: social media influencers, eroded and exploitative intimacies, and anti-fan communitiesthree marketing academics Rebecca Mardon, Hayley Cocker and Kate Daunt found the root of the cause for some ‘followers’ to change their mind on their favourite influencer. 

‘Influencers typically rise to fame by sharing intimate details about their lives, but later impose boundaries to protect their privacy and mental health. This can shatter the illusion of intimacy, prompting anger from followers who feel entitled to omitted information,’ they wrote in The Conversation. 

This in turn can cause followers to do their own ‘deep dives’ into the lives of these influencers to ascertain the information they are no longer privy to. 

Why do people continue to follow these accounts if they are no longer serving them? “Social monitoring, social comparison, whatever you want to call it, is very natural and normal,” psychologist Pam Rutledge told Vice.

By feeling like they are in some kind of ‘relationship’ with the person they follow gives them the feeling of intimacy, psychologist Erin Vogel explained to Vice. Learning more about them “can feel satisfying, if we learn more information that confirms that we’re ‘right’—that we dislike them for a reason,” she said. 

Are these subreddits, websites and negative comments having an impact on the relationship between brands and influencers? Director and chief operations officer at Antler Social, Harri Brown, recalls a marketing campaign with a skincare brand and a US content creator during the pandemic.

“She was fantastic, she aligned really nicely with the brand values and then, shortly after she did her first few posts, she started getting targeted by troll accounts and anti-fans, to the point that the brand started to get harassed from the same people because they were affiliated with her,” she explains. 

From an agency side Brown needed to start looking into whether there was truth to the comments or was it simply trolling and unfounded. It was proved that some family members of the creator did not share the same views as the brand (it was around the time of the BLM protests).

Upon a deeper dive, it was found that the creator had disconnected herself from these family members four years prior and held very different views to theirs. 

How do influencer marketing agencies deal with these snark communities and anti-fans? Do they pay much heed? “It depends on the level of involvement that the influencer is going to have and what the brand stands for because ultimately if they are working as an ambassador there is an extent to which I will look, check comments and see what their audience is saying.”

Brown says she’d check comments on posts rather than searching through subreddits, “Reddit is an echo chamber, it’s very skewed, it’s very biased. But if I’m looking at comments on posts and the same things crop up then I might do some research on the side to understand the validity of it – and if it was from their past, what have they done since then? Have they addressed it? Have they done anything to prove they have changed?” she says. 

Brown also says these findings should be presented to brands ahead of any contracts so they are aware of any comments that may come up. Sounds like these snark threads and anti-fan comments are holding influencers and brands accountable after all.

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