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With a huge 2012, Reddit may be the ultimate Web 2.0 underdog victory (pandodaily.com)
16 points by playhard 1664 days ago | hide | past | web | 12 comments | favorite

Here's what I thought of Reddit in 2008: "merely a collection of trivia, narrow, shallow, and sensational".


Since then I've become a Reddit user, but my opinion hasn't changed much. The bottom line from that post:

"The pathological focus on recency in Digg and Reddit's setup, and to a slightly less problematic extent in del's, has some benefits. It engages people in dialogue, and it's ideal for things like organizing political protests. It's great if you want to stay on top of things. But I think it's more important to get to the bottom of things."

I think a generation may soon overdose on 'recency'.

You can sprinkle it into all sorts of informational interfaces to create an extra (but often false) sense of excitement. Social feeds and decaying-rank news sites (like HN) offer recency bingeing, but it's often just 'the new' crowding out 'the best'.

This thread over at Edward Tufte's site solicits ideas for mitigating the recency bias of internet forums... but it seems an open (and perhaps eternal) problem:


It was the censorship that drove me away from the few subreddits I used to browse.

Time and time again, users who posted very well-reasoned and insightful, but somewhat unorthodox, comments were banned. I looked forward to reading their comments, since they were at least thought-provoking, even if I didn't necessarily agree with what was said. But then power-hungry moderators would come along and permanently boot such users, often without any explanation or without any way to appeal such a ban. So I stopped visiting.

/r/science is a stickler for the rules, and many of the "default" subreddits (the ones that are turned on for everybody off the bat) have serious moderation issues by nature of their traffic.

The more esoteric subreddits are quite useful, in my experience, though much slower.

Reddit has done an excellent job of creating a 'celebrity platform' in which anybody can theoretically become a celebrity. This works in the same way that modern capitalism creates an environment where anybody can theoretically become rich.

The real issue for Reddit is that more users actively harms their bottom line, as the kind of dynamic content they have is incredibly difficult to cache well and has to be recalculated continuously in thousands of ways, unlike Google who can create a more static, long term view of data. The user base on Reddit is also heavily skewed towards high school and college students - and these are generally the hardest users to get direct revenue from. Reddit is also trying to take the Wikipedia approach of receiving money directly from user's, but Wikipedia's data is far easier to store and disseminate, and Wikipedia's audience is far more global and includes more members of society who are willing to donate.

Reddit is going to have serious problems with their current business model and user base, and their audience is extremely fickle - their whole site is based off a kind of popularity contest after all. I would not recommend investing.

I wonder what % of their traffic is something other than /r/gonewild and /r/atheism?

I think their top ten posts of the year capture the essence of Reddit fairly well:


Celebrity interviews, a lot of pointless crap, some navel-gazing, and one mildly interesting thing about a videogame.

The celebrity AMAs are a new thing and a pretty big deal. Obama on Reddit was very similar to Clinton going on MTV and taking audience questions. And like MTV, like so many user-driven websites of the past, I wouldn't be surprised if Reddit quickly fades out of cultural relevance when the next thing comes along.

Indeed. I believe that Reddit is pretty much hitting it's peak of mass appeal. Personally, I left Reddit not to long ago (after nearly five years as a highly active user) in favor of smaller, more manageable and more palatable offerings.

It's also interesting that this blogger would bring up digg.com, a site that I used in tandem with reddit till the great migration of 2009. From there, I hadn't really gone back.

However, the new digg.com is fantastic! Lots of content, high readability (on desktop and mobile) and nothing else. It's a focused tuned experience that I really enjoy.

It seems like things have come full circle (again).

You're the first person I've ever met, including a former Digg employee, to have a positive impression of the redesign. I'm intrigued.

"But its impact this year was indisputable." Really? How much profit or even revenue did it bring in. Because in the end, that's all that matters. Digg committed suicide by algorithm and feudalism.

There are kinds of impact beyond revenue.

Consider the fact that the president of the United States found it worthwhile to take time more than once during crucial part of his campaign to go to Reddit. Reddit may very well had a large role to play in his upset over Hilary Clinton last time as well.

That impact is quite disputable.

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