Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Brief Look at Reddit

Reddit is a social networking platform with an increasing popularity since it was established in 2005. The number of Reddit visitors passed over 170.7 million monthly. Reddit has become a growing news source among social media platforms.

The word Reddit is coming from two words; read it. Similar to other social media sites, Reddit has own terminology and acronyms such as redditting (sharing, voting or commenting on Reddit), redditor (reddit user), subreddit (communities or subtopics created by redditors), AMA (Ask Me Anything) and TIL (Today I Learn).

To open a new account in Reddit is very easy. Users don’t have to use their real names and personal information to register. Also users can’t share someone’s personal information including real or online identiy. For example, Facebook or Twitter profiles shouldn’t be posted. Actually, Reddit encourages its users to create more public contents than private. But it has some tools like AMA which people show up with their real identity and communicate with Redditors in real time. After opening an account, users can define their preferences and subscribe to Subreddits depending on their interests. Besides five basic rulesof Reddit, users can create their specific rules for subreddits managed by volunteer moderators.

Reddit simply relies on users’ sharing and voting the contents. Redditors upvote or downvote the shared contents. The links which users voted the most go up, so the front page of Reddit change constantly. The voting tool helps Reddit to find and put forward the best or the most interested topics, arguments and comments. Therefore, Reddit makes a list of the most popular and interesting links on the web, which the community read and approve.

Public sector can use Reddit to see how people vote, response and comment on their policies, projects or any other initiatives. Government agencies can directly target their specific audiences on Reddit. They can explain issues, answer questions in an interactive way. Also non-profits can launch a fundraising event and benefit from the auidences on Reddit. For bussiness purposes, people can create own networks through subreddits and advertise their bussiness. Additionally, political figures can send posts related their political campaigns. The US President Barack Obama used AMA tool before 2012 presidential elections, and answer the question asked by redditors.

On the other hand, Reddit can become a platform of vialotions and speculations. One example of these shortcomings was the “r/findbostonbombers” thread. Redditors came up with several people as suspects just after Boston bombings. However, they targeted wrong people, and one of them, who was a student Brown University, found dead. Reddit apologized from the family of the student.

Comparing to other social networking services, Reddit has some different charachteristics. For instance, Reddit compiles and classifies the contents according to their popularity, which is defined by the votes of redditors, while Twitter provides short and key points from the breaking news and users’ opinions. Twitter and other social media  services do not have a ranking or voting system as Reddit has. Moreover, people use Twitter to follow individuals or institutions based on their relationship and interests. However, on Reddit people follows mainly topics based on their interest. Additionally, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Storify, Pinterest and other social media services usually have very eye-catching websites with colorful icons, pictures, links and scripts. On the other hand, Reddit looks very old fashioned, and its website is not as attractive as other social media’s front pages. Reddit focuses more on the content itself rather than the beautification of the content. Finally yet importantly, Reddit has greatest capacity with 300 characters for only titles and 15,000 for posts, and 10,000 for comments. Thus, people can get their voices heard more on this virtual media platform.
Consequently, important characteristics and some evaluations of Reddit have been explained here so far. From now on then, to reddit or not to reddit is up to you.. 

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