I consider myself an internet afficiando. I rely on it for vital information, news, most of my entertainment, and, of course, my writing career. I’m one of the first among my friends to hear of a new meme, a viral video, or a new link. I don’t completely buy into the argument that the internet/social media is destroying interpersonal relationships and face-to-face interactions. There are some individuals, no matter what, who will always have trouble building a social community for themselves. many of these individuals have identified with a virtual community, which is just as important. Heck, by simply reading this site, you’ve identified as someone of the Broke-Ass community.
Even though I love and rely on the internet, there are still some things I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t do. One is online gaming, i.e., World of Warcraft. I have a competitive and addictive personality, and I know once I start I’ll never be able to stop and I would probably lose my job because I couldn’t stop. Another is online gambling (see above). Finally, I had promised myself I would never start to Reddit.
What is Reddit? It’s hard to explain. It’s a virtual community. It’s a lexicon of the internet. It’s any thought that anyone has at any moment, and anyone can voice their opinion on anyone else’s thoughts. Users post anything, whether it be a link, a meme, a picture, a thought, or experience and others can comment on it. Reddit has been extremely influential in media, tackling the differing opinions of the occupy movement, responding directly to celebrities (several of them post to Reddit) and even talking people out of suicide.
I succumbed. It was a particular boring day at work and I had already gone through my RSS feeds. Once I got on, I knew it wouldn’t be my last time. Sure, there’s good stuff, but there is also a lot of CRAP to weed through.
If you are going to become a part of Reddit, which I do now endorse, there is a lot of preparation. Firstly, subscribe only to the subreddits that truly interest you. And there are literally thousands. Yea, you’ll probably be overwhelmed.
If you post a link or a comment and someone replies, take it with a grain of salt. Commenting anonymously also allows for anyone to be as much of a dick as they want to. Take it with a grain of salt. And if you find yourself about to make a dickish comment, think for a minute before you send it.
Sure, I can look at funny memes all day, but the stuff I find most fascinating are the IAMA’s, in which someone with an unusual identity, story, or history takes questions from readers. There’s fascinating stories you didn’t even think you wanted to know about, but you can’t stop reading. Of course, there’s also general interest stuff like science, sports, and television.
Since I’ve been into Reddit, I try to think of it as more than just a distraction or timewaster. I like to think of it as useful knowledge. I now have lots more to add to conversations, and as a writer, lots more inspiration. Plus, I can know engage in conversations like this one.
There have been some unfortunate consequences that have occured since the influence of the internet, but I do believe the power of the internet can be a positive and productive step for learning and connecting to a community. And Reddit can bring more understanding and discussion about issues, as long as its harnessed for good instead of evil.