Did you just find the most hilarious thing that the internet has to offer? How about the cutest or creepiest? Well that’s too bad because unless you’ve created it yourself Reddit has already seen it. There’s a reason that Reddit’s slogan is “The Front Page of the Internet” and it is because just about everything the internet has to offer, is on Reddit first. It has thrust its way into the world of pop culture by creating some of the most widely used memes, funniest parody videos and a place for just about everyone to share their ideas.
Many users have witnessed the birth of some of the most popular memes used on the Internet today, most of which happen by accident. On October 8th, a picture was submitted to Reddit that depicted a boy standing next to a burned ramen noodle cup in the microwave. Little did that user know that three days later, Minor Mistake Marvin would be born.
To someone who’s never heard of this wildly popular internet phenomenon, it is a bit hard to explain, but not impossible. Reddit is an entirely user-based website that allows anyone to submit anything to thousands of different specific subreddits and lets everyone else vote on said submission. Subreddits are subsections of Reddit that are specific to certain topics. R/funny is filled with hilarious nonsense, r/aww is filled with adorable animals and of course r/creepy is, well, creepy. The real question is: Why is Reddit so popular? The answer is simpler than you think.
One of the most revolutionary aspects about Reddit is the fact that it is entirely user based. Any Reddit user or Redditor can add anything to any portion of Reddit at any time. One could only imagine the chaos that would ensue without something else to keep the posts in check. To make sure this doesn’t happen Reddit allows every Redditor one vote per post, the posts with the most votes go to the tops of pages, which are often seen, and those with the least go to the bottom, and are hardly seen at all. The votes received are commonly referred to as Karma, and if there’s one thing you’ll learn quickly about Reddit is that Redditors need Karma and they’ll keep things relatively civil (and usually funny) just to get a few more little orange arrows.
What this becomes is a very clever way to monitor posts that doesn’t involve any type of modifications to codes or more employees hired to search through thousands of pages. While there are security and spam checkers enabled, the majority of filtering is done by the users themselves. This unique capability stems mainly from the sheer amount of volume on Reddit itself. According to their own about page, in the past month Reddit had a total of over 100 million unique visitors and over 6 billion page views. As a Redditor, this means that you can have peace of mind knowing you are only going to see the best material voted on by Redditors like you.
Many of the reasons that people view Reddit every single day is because every user can tailor their Reddit home page, whether it be on their phone, tablet or computer, to only show them things that they will enjoy. Because there are hundreds of thousands of subreddits, each person can periodically remove the ones they don’t want to see and what is left is an extremely personal Reddit page that only pertains to them. In the world of pop culture, the Reinforcement Theory states: “that people seek out and remember information that provides cognitive support for their pre-existing attitudes and beliefs. The main assumption that guides this theory is that people do not like to be wrong and often feel uncomfortable when their beliefs are challenged.” For example: if you are a Redditor and a Liberal, chances are you won’t subscribe to r/conservative because the beliefs of the Redditors inside will be different than your own. You are much more likely to subscribe to r/libertarian because your ideals will be encouraged.
It really is as simple as that. Reddit is successful solely because it is based on specific topics and allows users to vote on posts. Even new Redditors will find it very easy to post (or at least vote) on subreddits where they are surrounded by likeminded people. Due to its brilliantly simple concept, Reddit soon has new users wondering how they ever surfed the web before it
Reddit exists and works only if there are people contributing to it. Whether you’re posting pictures of your new cat to r/aww or down voting someone who doesn’t like that adorable cat picture, Reddit thrives on that personal feedback. More Reddit users means more content, better feedback, and even more specific subreddits. To those who have never been to The Front Page of the Internet, try it for yourself, but be warned, you might end up liking it more than you thought.