reddit calls itself the front page of the internet and for better or worse it is. The user-generated news and entertainment website succeeded where others failed in creating a reliable system with which posts can be up and down voted. The voting system might sound trivial, but by virtue of working better than anyone else it has propelled reddit to stratospheric heights. Last year the site had 56 billion page views and 731 million unique visitors.
reddit is divided into subreddits, with each community representing an specific area of interest. Some subreddits are large, such as /r/news and some small, such as /r/schland “a subreddit for everything that is awesome about Germany.” Some make you go “aww” such as, funnily enough, /r/aww and some reacquaint your mouth with your breakfast cereal such as /r/spacedicks.
The vast and sprawling anything-goes nature of reddit has made it the go-to destination for teenagers. In fact, much of the conversation on the site boils down to teenage angst. The world might well have been big and scary for their parents, but today’s teenagers have to deal with being able to flick between picture of dead kids in /r/picsofdeadkids and pictures of their peers stripping off for upvotes in /r/gonewild.
It’s easy to see reddit as simply a vehicle for promoting content, but the site has, perhaps by accident, succeeded in becoming “social” in a way that no other social media sites has. By virtue of its vast scope and anonymous sign-up system, it allows like-minded people to come together.
If you are fan of drinking beer in the shower, there are other lovers of the practice waiting at /r/showerbeer and if you want to stop masturbating you can find a community of abstentionist fapstronauts over at /r/nofap. If you’re writing a book, the nice people over at /r/writersgroup will keep you going with constructive feedback and if you want to exchange naughty prose, someone will likely reciprocate at /r/dirtypenpals.
And if you want to rant about the stupid people who believe in God, like-minded cheerleaders await you on every page on Reddit.
For millennia, people have been forced to live with their own thoughts, preoccupations and fantasies. By making a neat template for people to project their streams of consciousness onto, reddit has provided a way for even the most misunderstood soul to find a home.