Social media is woven into the very fabric of esports; there is simply no esports without social media. It’s the place fans are bestowed with the ability to connect and interact with fellow esports enthusiasts from around the world.
It’s the place fans watch their beloved esports stars and orgs in action through live streaming. It’s the place fans absorb the latest news, gossip and opinions just by scrolling and tapping their way through their newsfeed.
Esports culture we know today has risen from the depths of the internet and is now having an impact on mainstream society. Esports social media communities and enclaves have always existed, but they are so much more prevalent since the explosion of the esports scene. Aside from the main three mainstream social platforms of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there are other esports social media communities rife with chatter, GIFs and memes 24 hours-a-day.
In this article, Neon gives you the lowdown on where you can find the biggest esports communities on social media, while also giving you deeper insight into the platform and what makes them the engines that power esports as we know it.
Since its launch in 2011, Twitch has remained the king of esports broadcasting. Acquired by Amazon in 2014 for an eye-watering $970M, the live streaming platform was perhaps the single match responsible for igniting the esports fire. It made watching live esports possible but also made it social and engaging with several interaction functionalities at users’ disposal.
Fast forward to the present day and Twitch esports tournaments have been watched by more than 320 million people, with total viewership figures up over 90% for 2016 according to Google. On one end of the spectrum you have a handful of friends tuning in to watch a community CS:GO tournament, and on the other, you have the millions of fans who flock to get a glimpse of the esports megastars who are vying to take home the multi-million dollar Dota 2 and League of Legends prize pools.
Twitch quintessentially made the rapid growth of esports possible by creating the ideal platform for growth by giving esports the exposure and reach to engage its target audience.
Always seemingly playing second fiddle to Twitch, YouTube’s esports viewing figures never outgrew those of Twitch, after all… why would fans go to a different site to watch the same tournament they can watch where they have always watched it?
Well, all that is set to change. The video-sharing giant is making an unprecedented surge into esports after recognising the irresistible potential on offer. Now, YouTube is actively targeting Twitch CS:GO fanatics and enticing the entire community to make the switch by securing big money exclusive broadcasting rights with a string of popular esports majors including the Esports Championship Series (ECS), through partnering with the likes of esports giants ESL (Esports League) back in January of this year.
YouTube still has some way to go to take the title of biggest esports community off Twitch, but the wheels are certainly set in motion and Twitch should be at least a little weary.
No surprises here. The self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ is home to a huge /r/esports dedicated subreddit, accompanied by hundreds of specific game subreddits, including; /r/leagueoflegends and /r/DotA2. With each subreddit combined, you have a massive esports community filled with enthusiasts, actively browsing jam-packed threads and links with endless comments, engaged in heated debates and passionate discussions.
As mentioned in one of our previous articles, a lot of content shared on social media was probably shared on Reddit first. The same applies to esports. Reddit’s esports and gaming community do not miss a trick. With Reddit’s basic functionality and simple user experience, it makes sharing links and content almost effortless. This makes Reddit the perfect platform for collating and discussing all the latest news, updates and rumours, truly rendering it the one-stop-shop for everything esports.
Each individual subreddit has a platoon of moderators, or ‘mods’ in Reddit speech, whose job it is to keep order amongst a social media community notoriously known for its vitriolic and unforgiving behaviour. With the number of esports and gaming subreddits increasing daily it is certainly an online community that is only going to grow and grow as each day passes, coinciding with the exponential growth rates of esports itself.
There is a new kid on the block. gleetz.gg is the first of its kind: a social media network solely dedicated to esports. Only very recently exiting Beta phase, the innovative social media start-up looks to bridge the pro-gamers and industry professionals.
You could call it a ‘social media hybrid’. Facebook meets LinkedIn. Professional esports organisations and companies can connect with one another, post player and job vacancies in the opportunities page, all whilst staying true to the social side of esports. Users can post updates, customise their profile and very recently gleetz.gg announced a Twitch integration functionality – enabling users to feed their live stream into the gleetz.gg newsfeed to broadcast their stream to the entire gleetz.gg community.
Through identifying the current disconnected and disjointed communities and cross-sections of esports social media communities, it has given gleetz.gg the opportunity and perfect platform to potentially take the industry by storm. As with any start-up, it will take a lot of work and continual development to build gleetz.gg up to being a social media powerhouse but with huge corporations and organisations signing up daily and a partnerships with the likes of Portuguese footballing giants Benfica, who are looking to tap into esports… the only way is up!
Of course, esports social communities are not only restricted to the above platforms. Across the world there are other platforms used in different countries and cultures. For instance, ‘renren’, basically the Chinese Facebook, is home to a huge esports social media community. Russian platform, ‘VKontakte’ is the platform of choice across large suaves of Eastern Europe and also lays claims to a horde of esports enthusiasts.
No matter the country, continent or language spoken, one common theme must stay the same: adaptability. Staying static and failing to continually adapt and develop to keep up with the lightning speed of the esports industry could very easily see esports social media communities pitch their tents elsewhere.
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