So it’s time for me to relate a rather embarrassing story to you all. I am a lurker. (WOW that word has such a negative connotation!) Yes, my friends, I am a reddit lurker–I see all the pictures, read all the comments, but I watch you guys play from the sidelines. I don’t post, don’t comment, don’t upvote or downvote….or at least, I didn’t before I raked up the courage to make an account and put myself in the action.
For those of you who are only on the internet because you smashed your face on the keyboard and it took you to where you wanted to go, reddit.com is “a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of either a link or a text (“self”) post. Other users then vote the submission ‘up’ or ‘down’, which is used to rank the post and determine it’s position on the site’s pages and front page.” (That was all from wikipedia, read the whole page here.)
reddit (and yes, it’s stylized as all lowercase letters, my grammar minions) is hailed as “The Front Page of the Internet”, and it is seen more each day as a significant source of news and happenings all over the world, especially issues that might not be covered on your evening news program. Remember when Twitter first started out, and it was seen as just another social media site? In the same way that people now check twitter.com for to-the-minute updates on significant news stories, reddit has stepped into the limelight of the public eye (no longer just pictures of cats!) as a news feed.
During his 2012 campaign, in fact, President Barack Obama held a Q&A on reddit in a section I absolutely love, called ‘/r/IAmA’. What you do is you say, for example, “IAmA 2-time world champion underwater basket-weaver, AMA.” (AMA stand for “ask me anything”.) Then, with any luck, handfuls of questions will start pouring into the thread. “Where do you get your materials?” they might say, or, “What’s been your greatest challenge to overcome in this grueling athletic competition?” or even, “Have you felt that, as a young man, you’re seen as the underdog in this predominantly female sport?” When the President was answering questions from 4:30pmEST to 5pmEST, the server was under so much activity that it crashed.
As you may be able to tell, I love reddit. With everything that this site brings to the table, what’s not to love? (apart from /r/gore….that’s been my only “Oh, just passing through-OH GOD FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD, WHY DID I CLICK ON THAT LINK?!? Let’s just say, that thread is not discussing global climate change issues…) Anyway, back to my story…
I decide to hang up my lurker cape (why it has to be a cape, I’m not sure) after about 6 months of logging on almost daily. I registered, read the reddiquette, and used imgur to upload my first post: a picture of my dog to the subreddit /r/Aww. Within 10 minutes of posting the image, I had received a nasty comment from someone critiquing the quality of my camera. I was so sad…MY REDDIT BETRAYED ME! (I want to note here, not all redditors are created equally. This person may have a point about my crummy camera, but come on…cut me some slack, it’s my first day at a new school….)
Anyway, like the embarrassed little mouse that I am, I deleted the post, the comment, and my account altogether. Maybe this was extreme, but it just seemed like there was so much less pressure when I was on the bench reading about /r/todayilearned/ or laughing at pics on /r/funny/. I still love you, reddit, even if you aren’t returning any of my calls. I have enough love for the both of us, I know it.
(Hopefully both adorably and creepily) yours,
NPR on President Obama and reddit.
Wiki page on reddit.
/r/IAmA (so you can lurk, too!)