that website you’ve heard of but maybe don’t quite
understand. Is it a social network? A message board? Its
spare design and free-for-all culture can be
intimidating, but don’t underestimate its users’
collective power — for good and, sometimes,
not-so-good. The site is one of the Internet’s most
visited destinations, with billions of page views each
month. One of Reddit’s co-founders, Alexis Ohanian, is
on a speaking tour about his book, "Without Their
Permission." Ohanian shares his thoughts on Reddit
and ways the Internet is "making the world suck
is a message board and online community. Users post
links and photos, people comment, discussion (sometimes
wild) ensues. Popular posts rise to the homepage, which
calls itself "the front page of the Internet."
Reddit, there are thousands of subreddits, aka
categories, set up and moderated by users. A category
for cute pictures? That’s marked r/aww. Or maybe you’re
into pens? Try r/fountainpens.
big on democracy, allowing users to collectively elevate
or bury posts. Like what you see? Click the
"up" arrow. Annoyed or disgusted? Click the
and friend Steve Huffman founded Reddit in Massachusetts
in 2005, then sold to Condé Nast in 2006. It’s now a
subsidiary of Advance Publications, Condé Nast’s
what Reddit users call themselves. Reddit got its name
because the founders envisioned people saying they’d
"read it" on Reddit.
a time when social networks like Facebook push real
names and authenticity, Reddit is still all about
anonymity. You don’t even need an e-mail address to be
percent of Internet users visit Reddit, according to the
Pew Research Center, which also notes men are twice as
likely as women to use the site.
drew more than 90 million unique visitors in November,
but just 2 million were logged-in Reddit account
holders. Lots of lurking going on.
numbers posted next to your username are a measure of
Reddit community cred. Post things people like and you’ll
get "link karma." Adding valuable comments
earns you "comment karma."
is full of these. Some, like NSFW (not safe for work)
are key to avoiding photos you don’t want to see.
Others, like OP (original poster) are useful for
following a discussion. A few more: CMV = change my
view; TIL = today I learned; ELI5 = explain it like I’m
5 years old; and tl;dr = too long; didn’t read. Reddit
offers guidance through the alphabet soup on its FAQ
very popular acronym attraction on Reddit stands for
"I am a … Ask me anything." This is where
people, sometimes anonymous regular folk with
interesting jobs, sometimes celebs, field all kinds of
questions from users.
is becoming a must-stop for pop stars, authors, actors
and politicians who want to show they’re tech savvy
and connect with the people. President Obama, Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Molly Ringwald and Keanu Reeves have all
are relentless in their demand for candor. Ask Woody
Harrelson, who got virtually shouted down during an AMA
when he tried to promote a movie rather than answer
goofy meme you saw bouncing around social media? It
likely started or gained momentum on Reddit, land of
oddball humor and subreddits devoted to advice animals.
loves photos — especially those of cute animals. There
are subreddits dedicated to cats, dogs, hedgehogs, red
pandas, even sloths.
lofty ideals of free speech and an open Internet reign.
When Redditors felt threatened by federal legislation,
they led a temporary Internet blackout in protest.
Redditors throw their support behind a cause, the money
flows. A Minneapolis nonprofit raised more than $80,000
for a Kenyan orphanage in 2012 by posting a plea on
are entire subreddits devoted to being nice. For
instance: r/Random—Acts—Of—Pizza, on which those
in need ask for pizza and other redditors deliver. Also,
worldwide gift exchange r/SecretSanta — even Bill
Gates participated this year.
the masses are sometimes a disgusting, misogynistic hive
mind. There’s nudity, profanity and lots of comments
that would make your mom blush.
tried to help track down the bombers. They incorrectly
pointed to a missing man, and mainstream media picked it
up. Not good. Apologies issued all around.
is a global thing, but there’s plenty of local (or
locally relevant) chatter. There’s all-purpose
discussion by city, like on r/TwinCities. Winter
outdoors? Try r/IceFishing.