When I first heard about reddit, I ignored it. I thought, "Pssht, like I need another forum to time-suck my life away." I've heard anecdotally how easy it is to get pulled into a reddit post-hole where you never stop clicking on memes and comment threads and poof! three hours have vanished.
But I came around two years ago when I was looking for an NBA forum that wasn't owned by CNN or ESPN. I wanted to learn what regular NBA fans like me were discussing and joking about, and the sub-reddit for NBA news and humour caught my cynical eye immediately. I realized reddit forums could be filled with intelligent and insightful commentary, not the 4chan drivel I wanted to stiff-arm from my consciousness.
I was quickly swimming in a sea of sub-reddits such as /toronto, /dataisbeautiful, /worldnews, /movies, /books and many more subs. Thing is, I never felt like I was wasting my time, because I was turning to reddit as the ultimate news curation. As a news junkie, reddit fed my addiction by listing the top news and discussions in a buffet of topics. And the mainstream media were notorious for poaching ideas found on reddit to form the backbone of their 6 p.m. newscasts.
Also, I became a redditor because I couldn't find anywhere online that offered such quick and useful replies on questions I had, ranging from recipe how-to's to Toronto curiosities to book recommendations. More often than not, when I post a question to a sub-reddit I get a reply within 3 minutes, and it's not just bullshit like "First!" or "Suck a dick." That's what I expect from YouTube comments. Instead, redditors have this innate sense of community that inspires them to help each other, something I don't see consistently anywhere else.
For anyone skeptical about reddit's benefits, I'll just say this: Try it for a week and if it's annoying and frustrating and not for you, drop it. But if you're finally getting answers to questions you've been burning to ask (and don't want to go the Quora route), go deeper into reddit and discover how this super-forum can help you with everything from life-hacks to discovering viral videos.
Plus, redditors are so nerdy about such niche topics, you can find a sub-reddit on practically anything. Love an anime show you think no one else gives a flip about? There'll be a sub on it. Want to stay updated on Canadian beer trends? There's a sub for that too.
And finally, kudos to the reddit team for keeping their design as plain and simple as the day it launched. I don't care what reddit looks like; that minimalistic format is perfect for a site whose main goal is to offer information and some playful time-wasteage, not to win any Webby Awards for getting a makeover.
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Media criticism. Poetry. Theatre. Toronto. Technology. Travel. Sports. Why X-Files rocks.