September 22, 2020

Podcast Groups Aren’t Just About Podcasts

“From my experience, podcasting is a very isolated craft. A lot of us are doing it in our closets and home offices, so we’re craving to have someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of,” said Danielle Desir, the founder of the group Women of Color Podcasters.

Though the dialogue between fans and hosts can be useful, most members find that the value of these groups is in the connections fans form with each other. “Podcasts are really one-directional,” Ms. Desire said. “So a lot of listeners are looking to continue the conversation and interject with their thoughts.”

Deborah Reber, the host of “Tilt Parenting,” a parenting podcast, said that when she started the “Tilt Parenting” Facebook group, she thought she’d have to chime in on all the posts. “But it’s taken on a life of its own,” she said. “Every now and then now I just pop in and say thank you. It’s really overwhelming to see the way that people are showing up for each other.”

Some hosts rely on moderators and administrators to keep their groups in check. Katherine Littleton, an administrator of the Facebook group for the film-focused podcast “Unspooled,” said she dedicates about 40 to 60 hours a week to overseeing the Facebook community. “I don’t like anything to sit for even five minutes. I’m not joking when I say it’s a full-time job for me,” she said.

Ms. Littleton, who doesn’t spend much time on social media outside of Facebook, didn’t anticipate the emotional toll moderating a group would take. “It was really surprising how toxic it can get,” she said. She has observed infighting, vulgar remarks and threats, which are just a few of the problems that plague private groups that have grown to unwieldy proportions.

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