Why You (Don’t) Need Reddit


Reese Levine, Editor-in-Chief

Reese Levine

Let me tell you something about life. And by that, I mean I’m going to give you a long winded explanation on a topic you probably care nothing about, so if you want the shorter version, skip to the very bottom of this column.

On the menu today is the social news website, reddit.com. I’m not going to go into the details of how it works, but basically users submit original or linked content that is voted up or down by other users, with highly rated posts filtering to the top and earning their submitters reddit points called ‘karma’.
Admittedly, I’m not the ideal person to give a review of reddit. Here’s a rundown of how unqualified I actually am:

  1. The average redditor is a 25-34 year old male with a college degree. I, although male, am neither 25-34 years old nor a college graduate.
  2. The average redditor is usually good with computers and their inner workings. I like to think that I can navigate my way from Facebook to Twitter pretty easily, but after one visit to the subreddit /r/programming, I was totally lost.
  3. The average redditor actually submits posts and comments on others. I, on the other hand, am defined as a lurker, which means I visit the site but refuse to participate in it.
  4. I had to go to Wikipedia for a lot of the information to write this article, since I actually don’t understand how reddit works or why it’s important.

Okay, now that you are properly informed and ready to disregard what I’m about to say, I will give my opinion on reddit and how it relates to the fate of the human race.

At any given moment, most of the content on reddit’s front page is absolutely worthless and is a waste of time to view. Sure, the memes are funny and cats do sleep in funny positions that need to be documented, but are they really more important than studying or playing video games? At least on Facebook you can learn about what your friends are doing, while on reddit personal information like names and addresses are frowned upon, so you have no idea who that cat actually belongs to.

Other posts, such as those in /r/todayilearned, are actually quite informative. For example, one great post the other day taught me that scientists can grow bacon from stem cells. Unfortunately, all that great information I learned was of no help on my AP Physics test, and I later realized that reddit had again conned me into researching a subject that I did not need to know anything about.

This highlights the greatest problem with reddit. It’s too darn addicting. I listened to my friends talk about it for months while refusing to ever visit the site, but all it took was one time and I was hooked. Where is the fun in focusing on the things I need to get done when I could be reading about the most embarrassing moments of hundreds of anonymous internet posters? Everytime I try to tear myself away, one more post catches my eye and I’m dragged back into the labyrinth.

To me, reddit seems mostly to be a way for people to pad their self-esteem by earning karma, which has no practical purpose. When a submission reaches the front page, the holy grail of every redditor, they almost always put an edit in their post thanking people for all the karma they received. The battle for karma is serious and never-ending as users try to outdo each other with witty comments and memes. Others resort to downvoting their fellow redditors in the name of competition or purely in spite. The fuzzy puppy at the top of this article received 4,067 upvotes, which is no surprise, but someone needs to explain to me why 2,174 people felt that it deserved to be downvoted, the equivalent of a ‘dislike’ on Facebook. (By the way, they need to add that feature)

If by now you are too intrigued to avoid typing in reddit.com in your address bar, just remember that I warned you, and don’t blame me when hours disappear browsing the millions of posts and comments. Below you will see the reddit way of summing up a long post that not everyone might want to read. The abbreviation means too lazy, didn’t read, and for all of you who actually did read, I’m sorry that you didn’t just skip to the bottom and save yourself the trouble.

TL;DR: Reddit is pointless but addicting, so don’t ever go on it if you value your time.