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What is Reddit? Or, Why I Ditched The Mainstream Media And Turned To Reddit For My News – A brief primer on what Reddit is and why you need it in your life…



I’ve been a user of Reddit for a long time now. I love the platform, the way its setup, and the fact you can find a subreddit for just about anything. 

And I really do mean ANYTHING.

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In 2023, one of the things that regularly blows my mind is that a lot of people I meet or get to know have never heard of Reddit. How? Reddit is basically the best thing on the internet.

Whatever you’re interested in – be it Formula One, Magick, Taylor Swift, Model Train Building, Running, Satanism, or Crafting, as well as an entire universe of NSFW content – there will be a dedicated and lively subreddit packed with nutters just like you.

And I really do mean it: there is literally a subreddit for EVERYTHING – even the nichest of niche interests and hobbies.

Reddit breaks news before most major news sites too. Most major news publications have dedicated teams whose sole job is trawling Reddit for interesting stories and events.

For news junkies, Reddit is a goldmine. The front-page alone is basically tomorrow’s headlines published a day early.

Once you’re fully-versed in Reddit’s delights, you will A) never watch the news again, B) rarely visit actual news sites, and C) develop a host of new hobbies and interests. 

What is Reddit?

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Reddit calls itself the front page of the internet. Designed as a way for people to share information, Reddit has grown dramatically over the years.

It has tens of millions of users, hundreds of thousands of subreddits, and it is always growing. Often, stories break on Reddit before they hit the major news networks and channels. For me, this is one of Reddit’s #1 benefits.

Like Twitter, it is an almost real-time snap-shot of all the major events currently shaping the world.

And it doesn’t matter what you’re interested in, either. There will be a subreddit just for you, packed full of people that share content and things you will probably want to know about.

Got a leaky pipe in your cellar? Can’t afford a plumber? Get yourself onto the plumbing subreddit and ask for some advice. Within the hour, you’ll be swimming in information and advice from, potentially, hundreds of experienced people.

Reddit isn’t just a link-dumping site. Mostly it’s about the discussion. Someone posts a link, say, First Impressions of New iPhone 11 Camera, and then members of the subreddit basically dive in and ask questions.

Arguments are common, especially in places like r/Politics, but that’s kind of to be expected – people love arguing about politics. Mostly, though, Reddit is packed with nice folk. I’ve been using it daily since about 2016 and I’ve never once encountered anybody that I would call a douchebag.

How Reddit Works

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Reddit is a social media platform that combines elements of online forums and content sharing. It serves as a hub for discussions and allows users to share various types of content such as articles, images, and videos.

The platform is organized into different communities called subreddits, where users can join and participate in specific topic-based discussions. Users can upvote or downvote posts and comments, which determines their visibility and popularity within a subreddit.

Navigating Reddit involves finding subreddits of interest, joining discussions, and engaging with the community through comments and contributions.

What is Reddit Used For?

Users can also use Reddit to ask questions, seek advice, or share personal experiences with a supportive community.

The platform fosters an environment where individuals can connect with like-minded people, exchange ideas, and broaden their knowledge on a wide range of topics.

Additionally, Reddit has become a valuable resource for researchers and journalists, as it provides a wealth of user-generated content and real-time insights.

Overall, Reddit serves as a dynamic and interactive platform that facilitates the exchange of information and facilitates meaningful conversations among its diverse user base.

Why Reddit So Popular?

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The Unique Voting System

One of the standout features that contribute to Reddit’s immense popularity is its unique voting system. Unlike other social media platforms where content visibility is often determined by algorithms, Reddit employs a democratic approach.

Users can upvote or downvote posts and comments, effectively allowing the community to curate the content. This system not only ensures that high-quality or relevant content rises to the top but also gives users a sense of participation and ownership.

A Diverse Range of Subreddits

Reddit’s true power lies in its subreddits, specialized forums that focus on particular topics or interests.

From mainstream subjects like news and sports to niche communities centered around specific hobbies, there’s a subreddit for almost anything you can think of.

This diversity allows Reddit to cater to a broad audience, making it a one-stop-shop for various needs and interests.

Community and Engagement

Reddit isn’t just about posting content; it’s about engaging in discussions, sharing opinions, and even sparking debates.

The platform’s design encourages interaction, whether it’s through commenting on posts or participating in themed discussions known as “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) sessions.

This sense of community and the quality of engagement are often cited as reasons why users spend a significant amount of time on the platform.

The Ecosystem of Information and Entertainment

Reddit serves as an ecosystem where information and entertainment coexist. Whether you’re looking to catch up on current events, seek advice, or simply enjoy some memes, Reddit offers a multifaceted experience.

This blend of utility and entertainment ensures that users have multiple reasons to return, making it a daily destination for millions.

User-Generated Content: The Heartbeat of Reddit

Reddit is primarily driven by user-generated content, making every user a potential contributor. This democratic approach to content creation fosters a sense of inclusivity and freedom, further enhancing its appeal.

By combining a unique voting system, a wide array of subreddits, and a strong sense of community, Reddit has carved out a unique space in the social media landscape.

Its multifaceted nature appeals to a diverse user base, making it a continually growing platform that holds a mirror to the complexities and varied interests of the internet at large.

Is Reddit Safe?

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Reddit, like any other social media platform, has its share of safety concerns that users should be aware of.

While the platform does have mechanisms in place for reporting and removing harmful content, the question of “Is Reddit safe?” is not a straightforward one.

Here’s a closer look at the various aspects that contribute to Reddit’s safety profile:

Content Moderation Mechanisms

Reddit employs both automated algorithms and human moderators to oversee the content posted on the platform.

Users can report posts and comments that violate Reddit’s guidelines, and moderators have the authority to remove such content.

However, the effectiveness of these mechanisms has been a subject of debate, especially given Reddit’s past controversies related to hate speech and misinformation.

User Anonymity and Privacy

One of Reddit’s appealing features is the ability to post anonymously, which can be both a boon and a bane. While it allows for open discussions without the fear of social repercussions, it also opens the door for harassment, doxxing, and other forms of online abuse.

Community-Specific Safety

The safety of your Reddit experience can also depend on the communities you choose to engage with. Subreddits focused on professional discussions, academic topics, or wholesome content are generally considered safer than those that delve into controversial or explicit subjects.

User Responsibility

Ultimately, the safety of your Reddit experience is also in your hands. Being cautious about the information you share, the links you click on, and the communities you engage with can go a long way in ensuring a safer Reddit experience.

While Reddit does take steps to ensure user safety, the platform is not without its risks. The question of “Is Reddit safe?” is nuanced, requiring users to exercise caution and make informed choices while navigating the platform.

Being aware of these safety concerns and how Reddit addresses them can help you make the most of what the platform has to offer while minimizing risks.

Demographics & Enduring Appeal

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A Diverse Demographic Landscape

Reddit’s user base is a melting pot of demographics, making it one of the most inclusive platforms on the internet.

While it’s popular among tech-savvy millennials, it also attracts a wide range of other age groups, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers.

Professionals across industries, from healthcare to technology, also frequent Reddit for insights and discussions relevant to their fields.

Information Gathering: The Intellectuals’ Playground

One of the primary reasons people flock to Reddit is for information gathering. Whether it’s a student looking for research material, a journalist seeking public opinion, or a professional keeping up with industry trends, Reddit serves as a rich repository of information.

The platform’s upvote and downvote system ensures that the most valuable content often rises to the top, making information discovery efficient and reliable.

Social Interaction: A Community for Everyone

Reddit isn’t just a platform for solitary browsing; it’s a community. Users engage in discussions, share experiences, and offer advice on a myriad of topics.

From support groups for mental health to communities centered around hobbies and interests, Reddit provides a space for meaningful social interaction.

This sense of community is a significant draw for many users, who find value in the shared experiences and collective wisdom that Reddit offers.

Entertainment: More Than Just Memes

While Reddit is a go-to source for memes and humorous content, its entertainment value extends far beyond that.

Subreddits dedicated to movies, music, and even niche forms of entertainment like indie games or specific genres of literature offer a comprehensive entertainment experience.

Whether you’re looking to unwind or find recommendations for your next binge-watch, Reddit has you covered.

Specialized Use-Cases: From Dating to Job Hunting

Reddit’s versatility also extends to more specialized use-cases. Subreddits like r/jobs offer valuable advice for job seekers, while communities like r/relationships provide a platform for personal advice and stories.

Whether you’re using Reddit for dating advice or even exploring its darker corners for things like cheating strategies, the platform offers a space for almost every aspect of human experience.

By catering to a diverse demographic and offering a wide range of functionalities, Reddit has established itself as a platform for virtually anyone and everyone.

Its unique blend of information, community, and entertainment makes it a compelling platform, explaining why users not only visit Reddit but often find themselves engrossed for hours on end.

Key Features of Reddit

  • Upvotes and Downvotes: Reddit employs a content voting system where users can upvote or downvote posts and comments. This system determines how content rises to the front page or specific subreddit pages.
  • Reddit Gold: A Reddit Gold subscription offers additional features like an ad-free experience and access to a private subreddit. It serves as a premium membership for dedicated users.
  • Subreddits: Subreddits are specialized forums within Reddit that focus on specific topics. Users can personalize their Reddit experience by subscribing to subreddits that interest them.

How to Use Reddit

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  • Creating an Account: Registration on Reddit is free and grants you access to basic features like posting and commenting. You can do that here.
  • Types of Posts: Users can submit text posts, links, images, and videos. Each type of post serves different purposes and engages the community in various ways.
  • Subscribing and Unsubscribing to Subreddits: To personalize your Reddit experience, you can subscribe to subreddits that align with your interests and unsubscribe from default ones that don’t.
  • Interacting with Other Users: Reddit allows users to comment on posts and engage in discussions. You can also send private messages for more direct interactions.

Additional Resources:

Here’s some popular subreddits to get you started:

Reddit’s Core Interactions

  • Commenting: Commenting is a key feature on Reddit, enabling users to share their thoughts, ask questions, and engage in debates.
  • Private Messaging: For more personal interactions, Reddit offers a private messaging feature, allowing users to connect directly.

Reddit Company Information

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Founding and Early Years

Reddit was founded in 2005 by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, two University of Virginia graduates. What started as a simple platform for sharing interesting links has evolved into one of the most influential social media platforms today.

The founders’ vision was to create a space where the wisdom of the crowd would dictate the value of content, a principle that remains at the core of Reddit’s functionality.

Acquisitions and Ownership

Over the years, Reddit has undergone several significant changes in ownership. In 2006, it was acquired by Condé Nast, a media company known for publishing high-profile magazines like Vogue and The New Yorker.

Later, in 2011, Reddit became a subsidiary of Condé Nast’s parent company, Advance Publications. In 2019, Reddit raised $300 million in a funding round led by Tencent, valuing the company at $3 billion. These acquisitions and investments have played a crucial role in Reddit’s expansion and technological development.

Global and U.S. Web Traffic Rankings

Reddit’s influence isn’t just anecdotal; it’s backed by impressive web traffic statistics. As of now, Reddit ranks among the top 20 most-visited websites globally and holds a high position in U.S. web traffic rankings as well.

This high level of engagement is a testament to the platform’s widespread appeal and its effectiveness in keeping users engaged.

Financials and Monetization

While Reddit offers free registration and basic features, it has various revenue streams that contribute to its financial health.

These include advertising, premium memberships like Reddit Gold, and awards that users can purchase to highlight specific posts or comments.

These monetization strategies have helped Reddit maintain its free features while continually investing in platform improvements.

Notable Controversies: The Darker Side of Reddit’s Popularity

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Reddit’s expansive reach and open platform have not come without their share of controversies. These incidents have raised questions about the platform’s safety and effectiveness in content moderation.

Below are some of the most notable controversies that have plagued Reddit:

Content Moderation Issues

  • Hate Speech and Extremism: Reddit has been criticized for not doing enough to curb hate speech and extremist content on its platform. Subreddits promoting hate speech have existed, leading to public outcry and subsequent bans.
  • Misinformation: The platform has been a breeding ground for various forms of misinformation, including conspiracy theories and false news, raising concerns about its role in the spread of misleading content.
  • Graphic Content: Reddit has faced backlash for hosting graphic and disturbing content, including violent videos and explicit material, without adequate warnings or age restrictions.

User Privacy Concerns

  • Data Breaches: Reddit has experienced data breaches that compromised user information, raising questions about the platform’s security measures.
  • User Tracking: Concerns have been raised about Reddit’s tracking of user activity and data, including the use of cookies and other tracking technologies.
  • Anonymity and Doxxing: While Reddit allows for anonymous posting, there have been instances of ‘doxxing,’ where users’ personal information was revealed without consent, leading to harassment and threats.
  • Copyright Infringement: Reddit has been a host to pirated content, leading to legal challenges and questions about its responsibility in enforcing copyright laws.
  • Promotion of Illegal Activities: Subreddits have existed that promote or discuss illegal activities, from drug use to hacking, leading to ethical and legal concerns.

Reddit Demographics

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Gender Distribution

According to a 2023 report, Reddit’s user base comprises 74% men and 25.8% women. This significant gender skew highlights that the platform is predominantly male.

Geographic Presence

Reddit has a substantial user base in the United States and the United Kingdom, often referred to as Reddit UK. While exact percentages for 2023 are not readily available, these two countries have consistently been among the top users of Reddit in previous years.

Ethnicity and Age Groups

A 2023 study reveals that roughly 70% of American Reddit users are white, 12% are Hispanic, and 7% are black. When it comes to age demographics, people between the ages of 18 and 29 make up Reddit’s largest user base at 64%. The second biggest age group is those aged 30 to 49, making up 29% of the user base.

What Does “NSFW” Mean On Reddit A Quick Definition…Pin

Reddit has its own set of acronyms and abbreviations that frequent users employ for quicker communication and to establish a sense of community.

Understanding these acronyms can significantly enhance your Reddit experience by making interactions more straightforward and meaningful.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most commonly used acronyms on Reddit:

ELI5: Explain Like I’m 5

The acronym ELI5 is often used when someone is seeking a simplified explanation for a complex topic. The idea is to break down complicated subjects into terms so easy that even a 5-year-old could understand. Subreddit: r/explainlikeimfive

TLDR: Too Long; Didn’t Read

The abbreviation TL;DR is commonly used to summarize long posts or articles. It serves as a quick recap for those who don’t have the time or inclination to read the entire content. You’ll often find a TLDR section at the end of lengthy Reddit posts to provide a concise summary.

NSFW: Not Safe For Work

The tag NSFW is used to indicate that a post contains content that may not be suitable for viewing in a professional or public setting, such as explicit material or graphic images. It serves as a warning to users so they can avoid opening such content in inappropriate environments.

TIL: Today I Learned

This acronym is used when someone wants to share an interesting fact or piece of information they’ve recently discovered. It’s a way to share knowledge and often sparks further discussion on the topic. Subreddit: r/todayilearned

OP: Original Poster

This term refers to the person who initially created a thread or post. It’s used to identify or address the individual who started a particular discussion, especially in comment sections where multiple users are interacting.

AMA: Ask Me Anything

This acronym is used to indicate a Q&A session where the original poster invites the community to ask them questions about a specific topic or experience. These sessions can range from casual to highly specialized, featuring experts or celebrities. Subreddit: r/IAmA

Understanding these popular acronyms can serve as a valuable primer for navigating Reddit’s unique culture and community norms. Whether you’re a new user or someone looking to deepen their engagement, knowing what these terms mean can enrich your Reddit experience.