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Reading into Reddit

By Julian Aidan, Daily Arts Writer
Published January 31, 2013

“It can kind of corrupt your viewpoints, though. I’ve noticed that I’ve started leaning towards what ‘they’ believe on Reddit, and I don’t know if it’s because it’s what I believe or because I spend so much time there.”

A loose moderating system is in place, with each subreddit having a number of moderators overlooking its content. Irrelevant, inflammatory and explicitly promotional content is removed, and many subreddits have restrictions on what can and cannot be posted. Each subreddit’s individual rules contribute to the flavor of each user’s experience.

Davis said beyond promoting the subreddit in real life, he likes to take a hands-off approach to the content of the discussions to focus on Internet trolls and spam links. The subreddit tends to focus around orienting newcomers, recommending locales, local news and organizing meetups. He also remarked that his job in IT outside of being a moderator has been made easier by using Reddit.

“I’ve had several threads where I’ve either posted something to a community asking for advice and gotten a lot of helpful comment and replies and there are a lot of great new ideas,” Davis said. “In my last position, I was the entire IT division, so it was really helpful to see what other professionals were installing and what their opinion was about them.”

The pub of the 21st century

For students in the United States, where our vote is only one among hundreds of millions, the miniature power trip resulting from pushing a struggling post upwards or shoving it downwards into the depths of the Internet is a gift in and of itself. Obviously an efficient and — if used responsibly — educational procrastinating tool, Reddit can be used as an escape from that awful philosophy lecture taken for distribution requirements.

LSA Sophomore Julia Chesbrough has found Reddit useful as an artist’s resource.

“I have used it to see what type of art people are working on and … for inspiration. You can get different perspectives on things,” Chesbrough said. “You can post some of your artwork and get a lot of feedback.”

It can also be used to supplement knowledge in a given field. Hobbyists of all kinds flock to Reddit with tips and tricks, and the newest technologies are always being linked to relevant boards. Looking for an app to improve productivity? A wealth of posts comparing different sites and software is a search away. Need some tips on working out? Reddit’s fitness community is as active as any other part of the site.

“It’s a way to kill time. … There are so many broad subjects; so many different things that you can get lost in different topics,” Rotarov said.

There are subreddits dedicated to making informed purchasing decisions on household appliances, video games and more. New music? Dozens of active boards link to the freshest tracks from known and unknown artists. Debating whether or not to see a movie? Barring some seriously hivemind-based conversation, you’re likely to find useful comments and reviews.

In an age where so much happens behind a screen — texting instead of calling, e-mail instead of snail mail — and where there’s so much pressure to find out what you want to do with your life, finding and fleshing out your own hobbies and interests can sometimes take a backseat to studying and a social life. Reddit provides a network of like-minded people a few clicks away.

In Davis’s words, “It’s the pub of the 21st century.”