On (Re)Discovering Reddit

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

Reddit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Thank you, Sam)

About two years ago I discovered reddit with one purpose: to advertise my blog. Guess how long it took for me to be ‘shadow banned’. Go ahead, guess.

(The answer is, I don’t know either, but I know I only had it lifted this weekend when I asked).

I know reddit has been in the news this years for two separate reasons: The notoriety of a redditer who was posting suggestive pictures of minors without their or their parents’ consent, and the tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz, who had a great deal to do with the rise of reddit.

Honestly, these aren’t the reasons that I went back. In fact, that skeevy redditer was a reason for me to avoid the service. And then a Facebook friend a generation younger than I am posted on her timeline how much fun she was having wandering around reddit…

Which led me to want to advertise on it. (Still not getting it)…

In the process of trying to build a presence on reddit, I had a kind mod send me a direct message to let me know that I had been shadow banned, which means that while I could post, no one could see me. After a brief pause to be angry and outraged at the admins of reddit, I conceded that maybe (just maybe) I had been misusing the service (lo those many moons ago), and swallowed my pride. I sent a message to the admin and within an hour I was visible again… which is pretty amazing considering that my request was sent on the second day of a three day weekend.

And so. I began exploring. I added a few subreddits (communities) to my dashboard, shared a link to a post over at Shakesville (which went nowhere, unfortunately), and began commenting. Within hours I was having interesting conversations with strangers on all manner of subjects.

It gave me happy nostalgia for the days of the BBSs, the newsgroups, and the days when LiveJournal was a larger, more thriving community. It has elements of the wild west, but in the neighborhoods I visited, the local sheriff appeared to be on the job. Unlike on Facebook, there is a deep and important element of anonymity at reddit that allows for discourse without fear of reprisal.

You can find me there under the handle ‘odanu’. I don’t usually take advantage of opportunities to be anonymous. I plan to spend a lot of time over there, and I’m seriously considering starting a couple of subreddits after I learn the lay of the land better.

Reddit alienWhere RSS (that’s my RSS feed, btw) reliably offers you a way to have your favorites places on the web delivered to you and Facebook allows you to network with families and friends, reddit is a truly public forum. Depending on which reddit ‘public square’ you are in, moderation is light or heavy, giving you the experience you look for. It’s like Twitter but with more than 140 characters.

Reddit advertises itself as ‘the front page of the web’. It’s a good description. I’m busily setting up my dashboard to serve as a second newsfeed for myself, one not quite so focused on a few favorite blogs and websites, but on a wider view of the web.

Am I going to be sharing links from this website on reddit? (Double checks the redditquette) Yes, I will, and you can too (using those nifty buttons at the bottom of the post). But I will also be sharing other peoples’ websites, and engaging in conversations, and finding interesting videos and memes and music to share with you.

Can you tell I’ve found a new favorite toy? The only downside is that I don’t know anyone’s usernames over there, so its a bit lonely. If you’re over there, feel free to PM me and let me know who you are to add to a friends’ list.

… and now I’m off to go play. Have a wonderful day, and see you on the flip side!

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About Maureen O'Danu

Maureen O'Danu is the webmistress of Am I the Only One Dancing? where there is a new discussion every day on any one of dozens of topics and ideas, as well as reviews, geekery, family, fun, and enough politics to season the pot.
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