Reddit: the front page of the internet

Introduction

Reddit, branded ‘reddit’ with a lowercase r is a social news and entertainment website which prides itself as being ‘the front page of the internet’. Users post content in the form of a link or a text post, but unlike Facebook and other social media sites, these posts are usually not personal information but rather content in which other users can relate to and enjoy. Each submission is then filtered by other registered users by ‘up voting’ or ‘down voting’ content which they deem to be interesting or not. The more up votes a submission receives the higher up the page it moves, the idea is to filter the best submissions from the rest. To categorise submissions, the website is divided into areas of interest known as sub reddits. These sub reddits are used by syntax /r/. For example a post to do with politics may be posted to reddit.com/r/politics and something to do with rugby may be posted to r/rugby etc. etc. The sub reddits are moderated by registered users and the number and variety of sub reddits is increasing rapidly.

The Technology

You would imagine reddit to have an incredibly large workforce and server setup due to it ranking as the 66th most visited website daily worldwide and 20th in the USA. However, reddit employs just 28 people! It was originally written by 2 new graduates from the University of Virginia in Common Lisp but has since been rewritten in Python. In 2009 reddit decided that instead of using their own servers they would switch to amazon web servers to deal with increased traffic. Due to the popularity of smartphones in recent years, people have been crying out for an official mobile client for reddit. Sadly reddit themselves haven’t made an official release, but that hasn’t stopped other developers from making their own clients. Several options are available from Google’s play store, Apple’s app store and the windows mobile app store. The apps are so well coded that it has stopped the need for reddit themselves to make one. The reddit community is always posting constructive criticism to help improve these.

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The users

It’s rather cliché to use the phrase the users make the site but with reddit it really is the nature and diversity of the users that make it one of the most unique online communities. This will be addressed in much more detail in future blog entries. But so often any kind of request or question will be fulfilled or answered by an expert in that field. In terms of quantity of users, as mentioned above, according to alexa.com reddit is the 69th most visited website each day worldwide and 27th in the United States.

There is an almost even split to male and female users and the majority lie within the 20-35 age band. Reddit is also conscious about the nature of its content and any controversial material or material deemed inappropriate for younger audiences must be marked with the acronym NSFW (not suitable for work). It is the moderators of each sub reddit which makes it such a strong community.

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