By David Bray
What if I told you there was a website where you could do all of your Internet surfing for the day in one place? The closest thing to that is Reddit.com. Founded in 2005, Reddit is an open-source forum where readers can browse to find articles, jokes, YouTube videos, and discussions about literally anything. Reddit users, also known as Redditors, are constantly posting more material as it shows up online, so surfing Reddit is basically a more efficient way of surfing the whole Internet.
Reddit also features thousands of smaller communities, or “subreddits,” that users can subscribe to based on their interests. The most subscribed-to subreddit is r/Funny, where people post funny pictures or Facebook conversations. There are several other humorous subreddits including r/Jokes, r/Humor, r/AdviceAnimals (if Internet memes are what make you laugh), and countless more. R/Politics is another popular one, but there are also several other popular political subreddits, such as r/Conservative, r/Liberal, r/OccupyWallStreet, and r/RonPaul, which aim to have more specific discussions for more specific audiences. There are subreddits for fans of specific sports or teams, for residents of specific cities, and for fans of specific TV shows.
When someone posts a link to Reddit, other Redditors can “upvote” it or “downvote” it based on whether they liked it or not. The person who posts the link earns “karma” for upvotes, and “comment karma” for the upvotes their comments get, but karma is meaningless. It does not buy you anything in the real world, or in any virtual world. People who repost links that have already been posted just to earn more karma, or people who brag about how much karma they have, are known as “karma whores.” Nobody likes karma whores. The spirit of Reddit is about spreading information, not a virtual popularity contest.
The biggest danger of using Reddit is that since it makes it so much easier to surf the Internet, it will become that much easier to spend all your time online. There are only so many hours in the day and there are many things that are more important than what is online – such as classes, homework, jobs, family, dating, and staying in shape.