Have You Reddit?

UPDATE: if you aren’t sold on the value of Reddit, can I suggest you take in this inspired discussion on Reddit as to whether the sun is hard or squishy. Thanks BoingBoing – this is truly beautiful.

I’m back! And ready to jump back into all things tech and web. Out of the gate, I thought I would visit a web tool that I have noted for quite some time, but haven’t really taken advantage of – Reddit. Reddit is a social news site that bills itself as the source for what’s new and popular across the web. The content is submitted by the community of users. Those same users can vote up and down the content, creating a constantly shifting front page of popular news. The site is broken up into individual, topic based Reddits. You can subscribe to the Reddits that interest you. While you can subscribe to as many Reddits as you like, your front page can show 50 Reddits at most (more if you are a “Gold” member). Each Reddit has a monitor – a user that helps keep the Reddit moving in a positive direction. You can use a search function to find topics and individual Reddits and build your news sources accordingly.

In order to prevent spamming, there are limits to the number of links you can post during a certain time frame. Users can also accrue karma points based on the submission of well-liked content. Of course, you can also comment on links, so there is both movement in the popularity of links as well as in discussion surrounding the links. And comments can become popular or unpopular via voting, so there is movement in the comment ranking as well.

Reddit has been around for a while, which can mean a potential for irrelevancy in a rapidly changing web. Similar service Digg has suffered somewhat in this regard over the past year or so (as well as from a hellish redesign). However, this negative result does not appear to be the case for Reddit. It has a somewhat smallish, but thriving community of contributors that seems able to actually get things done. Like prompting Stephen Colbert to hold his rally in Washington, D.C. in October, 2010, raising a half a million dollars for charity. Recently, a riveting account of a standoff between the New Jersey police and a gunman bubbled up through Reddit, not Twitter. The Redditor, Elinika, supplied eyewitness accounts and updates to Reddit and the local New Jersey paper, a prime example of citizen journalism at its best.

I like Reddits no-nonsense interface – you see mostly just the links when you visit, and no advertising (Woot!). there are tabs for what’s hot, new, controversial, top and saved, with individual topics at the very top of the screen. To engage, simply create an account, and start linking and voting.  But be careful, Reddit can be mesmerizing – the front page is constantly changing based on user actions and there is a lot to see and explore.

In sum, Reddit is a nirvana for social news junkies interested in the content that interests others.

If you want tools to supercharge your Reddit experience, check out this article at MakeUseOf that highlights some apps / extensions to improve the site’s utility.

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