Is Tumblr a place for gamers?

According to a Quantcast study (february 2013), Tumblr demographics can be roughly summarized as: young adults, college graduates, no kids and hispanic. While there are no realiable data available regarding the connection of Tumblr and the gaming culture, some think there is a link.

fig,white_evergreen,raglan,ffffff.u1

The “2013 Essential Facts about the computer and video game industry” report by the Entretainment Software Association says 30 is the average age of today’s gamer, which fits somewhat the profile of youth adulthood that seems to characterize Tumblr users. Just a weak link, but enough for speculation.

Although checking the hypothesis that “Tumblr is for gamers” is a big challenge that would take a lot of effort, one can still try to get some quick insights on it. A possible window is looking at the tags. For example, you can get the stream of posts tagged with a given tag, for example, “gaming” at http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/gaming .

Luckily, Tumblr has a well designed and clear API, including client libraries for several popular programming languages, which eases the collection of post metadata. Just as an exercise of curiosity, I quickly wrote a Python script using pytumblr that got posts tagged with “gaming” using the call:

posts = client.tagged("gaming", before=oldest)

This gets 20 posts if oldest is None, then you can iterate using the timestamp of the older one of the last batch to keep taking more backwards in time. With “gaming” I got only 241 posts (all the queries were done first week of January 2014, and the oldest posts gathered are mid 2009). With “gamer” up to 18248, and with “game” 2162. This in principle does not say much about the game-related activity at Tumblr, but let’s dig a bit more on the data.

In the case of “gamer” tagged posts, we find that nearly 80% of the posts are images, 13% text and less than 5% video. The first interesting (but maybe not surprising) thing we find is that the distribution of posts per blog is long tailed, as  the plot below suggests.

posts_gamers

The long lines in the diagram correspond to rpgfanatics (1860 posts), gamefanatics (826 posts) and dailyapocalypse (526 posts). This last one is a good example of a sort of “transmedia interest”, as the blog seems to be thematic on “zombie apocalypse” but including different media on the same overall topic: games, comics, TV shows, etc.

All the “notes” (likes+reblogs) in posts gathered and tagged with “gamer” make a total of 712747, which sounds an interesting number considering that the posts gathered are only a sample of all the game-related posts in the platform. Only the dailyapocalypse blog of the top-3 posters appears in the top-100 of blogs with higher note counts. So in principle more posts does not mean necesarily more notes.

Looking at the notes, the distribution is again long tailed. The post with more notes from the sample is actually a piece of weird humor worth looking at. It counts an impressive 314128 notes, with the second one (an infographic on “how to pick the perfect videogame“) only counting 41288.

Finally I looked at the tags. There was a total of 20219 different tags, with the 20 most frequent being: gamer, gaming, video games, rpg, games, xbox, nerd, nintendo, geek, skyrim, the game fanatics, ps3, girl, lol, funny, love, cute, zelda, wow and fallout. A really good mix of game and console references with other general terms for further thinking!

Well, this is what I got from a quick exploration, not really conclusive. But what is clear to me is that there is a community of gamers there and this entails a form of co-culture with a sort of hidden language. Just as samples, here two recent posts at gamefanatics:

tumblr_mzbrw571tb1rxp2s8o1_1280

tumblr_mz8d09RmYd1rxp2s8o1_1280

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s