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Facebook says I’m a 29 year old female living in San Francisco. Twitter says I like puns and bad jokes (@The_PUNisher_SF). Reddit upvotes and says I LOVE puns and bad jokes. And this blog tells you about my experiences using social media sites and learning to fit them all together into my life. www.facebook.com/TheBigSocialPicture

Monday, February 18, 2013

If you don't want Reddit, it doesn't want you!

I'm starting to become obsessed with Reddit.  Thanks to my friend who explained how the "upvote" system works, I suddenly understand the value to their system.  And now that I'm aware of its value and potential to send something viral, I'm seeing it all over the place.

Today I was reading about the original Harlem Shake video, and a comment said it reached #1 on r/videos.  I had no idea what this meant so I typed it into Google, and had a "small world" moment when realizing it is a Reddit site.  Apparently all those categories along the top of the Reddit homepage are called sub-reddits, and the weblink for those are all prefaced with a r/.  I also saw 2 postings on Facebook today of things I had already seen on Reddit.  Which confirms what I thought, that Reddit is definitely without a doubt ahead of the Facebook curve of information.  And leads me to think Reddit might actually own the Internet.

But this post isn't about that.  I was talking tonight with a friend, and I was saying that as much as I'm starting to appreciate Reddit, I still can't get past the hideous interface.  I don't want to click on every link, I want to be able to expand the page and view it more like a feed.  I don't like the colors and the page layout, and I really want something that's more visually appealing.

To which my friend brought up a great point, that yes, Reddit is a little more work for the user.  But maybe they're weeding out their fan base.  Maybe they don't want the next level of viewership they could get by adding an aesthetic appeal to their site.  Their site is built on a voting system, and for it to work they have to trust the opinions of their viewers.  If the average Internet user becomes a Reddit voter, it could be like watching the Kids Choice Awards and seeing Justin Bieber win all of the awards.  In order for Reddit to succeed, its voters need to represent the goals of their audience.  What if they changed their site to appeal to the masses, and then the masses changed the direction of information?

I think there is a grain of truth to this idea.  People on Reddit are early adopters and self-proclaimed geeks.  They have a strong voice on the internet, and are driving the public's shifting image of the internet.  I've seen plenty of Facebook shares that are just painfully weak and unthought-out, and those tend to be from people less familiar with computers and the internet.  Who's to say they wouldn't dilute the Reddit voice?  But then again, if they make up the masses, then who's to say it's not the right thing to do?  Would a more comprehensive voting pool dumb down Reddit?

I would love to open up a discussion about this.  Internet, what do YOU think?


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