Slate writer Farhad Manjoo wrote a great piece about the social news site Reddit and its rising influence that is worth a click and read. The site allows users to share photos, videos, links and text with each other and is designed around so-called sub-reddits — user-created communities focused on a specific topic like the environment, computer science, politics, atheism, the video game Minecraft, and many cities, states, and universities. Basically, if you can think of a topic that people are into, it's likely there is a subreddit dedicated to it.
Reddit has seen huge growth in its user base since it was founded in 2005 and was positioned perfectly in 2010 to scoop up users of Digg, a similar social news site that drove off huge swaths of its users with some ill-timed and ill-chosen design changes. As diverse a place as Reddit is, its overall user base can easily be categorized as falling on the progressive side of the political spectrum (they love/hate Ron Paul) while embracing the ideals of a free and open Internet, marijuana decriminalization and Apple products.
Recently Reddit has been popping up in the mainstream news, thanks to the activism of Redditors upset about GoDaddy's support for SOPA/PIPA and about the overall proposed copyright laws. They were one of the first sites to call for sites like Wikipedia and Google to go "dark" for a day to protest the proposed laws that, if enacted, would have destroyed the free and open Internet as we know it. The idea for Stephen Colbert's and Jon Stewart's 2010 "Rally to Restore Sanity" originally sprung forth from a Reddit post, and the atheism subreddit managed to raise more than $200,000 for the nonprofit organization Doctors Without Borders.
If you haven't spent any time over at Reddit, you should click over and get lost in the links. Just don't blame me if you find yourself up past 2 a.m. searching for fresh links. Reddit can be highly addictive.
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