After Facebook was founded in 2004, users of the internet were gifted another way to make friends, bond over content, and engage in riveting conversation. It also allowed fans of everything from The Beatles to lawn care to come together to spout gibberish at one another.
These groups offer a space for individuals to share content and opinions on extremely specific elements of pop culture. It has become evident that you can be a legitimate enthusiast about more or less anything, as long as someone is willing to listen to you. Group members invite each other to create and present memes, artwork, music, video edits and much, MUCH, more. Posts also include debating points, polls, and links to relevant media.
Content works on the premise that members are rewarded for their familiarity with the group’s subject matter. This can be an incredibly specific knowledge of the page’s focus (James Bond, Doctor Who, milk etc.), or understanding a crossover reference from two sources.
Satisfaction is gained from the feeling of being a part of an online community. Understanding a niche joke about Shrek validates our decision to watch all four movies back to back.
These pages have been dubbed “Shitposting Groups”, which may be reflected (vaguely) in a pun in the group’s title. Shireposting, The Chase Walshposting and The Wire Sheeeeeeeeeitposting are notable groups whose names show varying similarity to this root word.
Dictionary.Com defines the shitpost as “a contribution to an online forum that is off-topic, false, or offensive, with the intent to derail the discussion or provoke other participants”. This term originates from sites founded at similar times to Facebook. 4Chan, which went live in 2003, and Reddit, launched in 2005, became renowned for bitter arguments, and sh*tposting became a weapon in these disputes.
However, after spending several years in more than a few of these groups, I have seen that, for the most part, they have moved away from content that fits this definition. There is a notable portion of these communities who now take offence at being called shitposters. The chaotic essence of shitposting instead made its way into the unpredictability of its reproduction.
This is not to say that these communities are anarchic. Groups are often governed by a set of admins and an extremely visible list of rules. And unless you want to be banned from debating which of the Tellytubbies would win in a fight, you had better abide by them. The structure of the group is necessary to ensure that posts are (ironically) ON-topic and localised in the specific interests of its members.
It is a merry and messy world for those who brave the shitposting group. But with enough time and energy to dive into your favourite films, TV shows, books, or dairy products, you can find, or found, a caring and supportive community. With them your creative interests will flourish. Although there is always an argument to be had if you go looking for one, this is the Internet after all…
Categories: Politics & Culture