Professor John Proctor
October 10, 2013
I am on the internet all the time. Besides email, I have accounts on the mainstream social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter but rarely use Facebook and have yet to tweet myself. I can receive Facebook notifications on my iPhone but I refuse to do so, it’s just another distraction as I go about my day, staying on schedule is difficult enough. Oddly enough, even though I’m not well integrated into ‘traditional’ forms of social media, I find myself connected to all these niches around the web that all have some sort of social media feature to them and for that it’s difficult to stay away.
Reddit is probably my biggest guilty pleasure because it’s a unique experience with a unique community. The first thing I do when I roll out of bed is wake up my laptop and open my news folder in my browser which opens the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. After I’m done scourging and reading what interests me, I head over to Reddit and I’ll be lucky to leave. With Reddit I’ll often spend more time reading through the comments of an article than I did reading the article itself. It’s not just the content on Reddit that is interesting, it’s the discussion and Reddit is one of the better places for articulate debate through a forum, despite the obvious political and gender biases the site deals with. It’s fun to post a comment and see if it gets upvoted or if anyone replies.
There are also parts of reddit called subreddits that are focused on a single topic. A subreddit could be about Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, the NFL. Whatever you specific taste, there is likely a community somewhere on Reddit posting and discussing your interests. In one sitting I could go from looking at amazing historical photos in /r/historyporn, or check out the latest football discussions in /r/nfl and then maybe hop over to /r/breakingbad to discuss the episode that just aired. But because all the users are participating through reddit, the same culture and community is consistent throughout all these niches and subreddits which comes together to formulate a very diverse community that’s hard to escape once you’re in.
When I haven’t been on Reddit for a couple of days, I do feel out of the loop more so than if I missed reading the NYT for a few days. Reddit seems to provide me with a stream of endless information and if you miss it, you can feel left out. When someone mentioned something I should know about, or read an article I didn’t see or hear, it bothers me that I missed it and I’m not up to date on this issue or that, I wonder how’d I feel if the site shut down for good.