Internet subcultures are nothing new. If you have a hobby, or you’re into a show, a video game, or an artist, you’ve probably sought out an online community where you could find like-minded people. Social media has made this process much easier, and it’s very likely that you’ll bump into fans on Twitter, Facebook, or even TikTtok.
As someone who is almost always online, I’ve fallen into quite a lot of internet rabbit holes. Sometimes you’ll see something that makes you go, “Whoa, that’s a thing?” or surprise you with how big a following it has. It always amazes me how they’re able to carve a space for themselves on the internet.
Here are some cool subcultures that you might not have known existed, and that you can explore and get into.
The Crochet Community
Mostly found in numerous Facebook groups, Filipino crocheters share their favorite techniques, designs and resources with one another. According to crocheter Trisha, it’s a very welcoming and helpful community. People are really friendly towards those who are just starting out and encouraging to those who want to sell their creations.
Trisha was already interested in crocheting prior and searched for groups that could help her hone her skills. “For the ones starting businesses, the people in crochet groups really encourage pricing the products high because they know how much effort goes into the work. There are also times where people share their finished works just for fun and to show off what they've made,” she says.
Another crocheter says that she first dipped her toes (fingers?) into the community because she couldn’t relate to the foreign YouTubers who buy their materials from stores in America, so she sought out locally based crocheters. “The crochet community is huge, inclusive, and very alive! Sobrang fun because the old timers are happy to help the new and younger ones. They often give tips and praise. You will also see that it is very welcoming to everyone from different walks of life.” She adds that they often did meet-ups prior to the pandemic, but even now the groups are still alive and thriving virtually.
If you’re interested in getting into crocheting, check out Facebook groups such as Crochet Philippines and YouTubers like Forthefrills for tutorials. Local shops like Lots of Yarns in Scout Delgado, Quezon City are also known for selling everything you need to get started and also hosting occasional workshops for specific projects.
Relatively new to the West, VTubing originated from Japan in the mid 2010s, where creators utilized virtual or animated avatars in their streams. A large portion of them are part of the gaming community who stream on Twitch or YouTube, though there are others whose content varies from storytimes, song covers, to even ASMR.
If you like something, there’s probably a dedicated group for it already out there. All you have to do is find it.
A VTuber fan talked about how he had stumbled upon a video from a random YouTube recommendation back in 2019. “When you watch one video related to a VTuber, the YouTube algorithm will start recommending dozens more. I only started tuning in to streams regularly though when a major VTubing company, Hololive, debuted its first group of English-speaking VTubers. I relied heavily on watching these VTubers to help cope with the loneliness that came with working and studying abroad during the pandemic,” he says.
The appeal of VTubers lies in their versatility and the way they can play up their characters in videos. Fans say that the way they interact with their audience and with each other is nice and entertaining. A lot of VTubers have their fanbases rooted in Discord or Reddit, where people can talk about specific creators or happenings in the wider community. If the regular ‘ol YouTuber just isn’t doing it for you anymore, maybe give VTubers a try!
To learn more about VTubers and the community at large, you can watch Anthony Padilla’s video “I Spent a Day with VTUBERS” on YouTube where he dives into the world of VTubing and interviews some prominent creators. Some VTubers recommended by fans are those under the Hololive or Nijisanji. Creators like Ironmouse and Gawr Gura were also recommended as good starting points.
BookTok is a subcommunity on TikTok where users talk about their favorite books. Nyx, a BookToker, says she joined the platform around August 2021 when she was looking for new books to read. “It’s very diverse. There are a lot of people interested in a lot of genres; you’ll find someone recommending what you’re into,” she says.
Nyx describes Filipino BookTok as a nice community that taught her a lot of things. She realized that she needed to look up the trigger and content warnings in books just in case she wouldn’t be able to handle the story. As a creator herself, she is also able to flex her editing muscles in making videos for the platform. “Bookstagram (Instagram) and BookTube (YouTube) are for in-depth reviews. BookTok are more for quick reviews and recommendations, short memes, funny videos, and audio trends. It’s very free,” she adds.
While searching up the hashtag #Booktok and #Booktokph on TikTok will get you pretty far, some locally based users that can get you immersed in the community are @mypatrochilles, @lovejulienne, and @bryanhoardsbooks. You can also search up specific genres through hashtags if you’re looking for something in particular!
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Fandoms and built communities are powerful things. As these spaces have proven, engaging with people of common interests can help you hone your craft through practical tips and tutorials, stay sane and connected during heightened times of isolation, and discover new things to enjoy. If you like something, there’s probably a dedicated group for it already out there. All you have to do is find it.