By Khadijah Khogeer
One weekend, I was hanging out in my friend’s apartment when I overheard one of my friends saying, “But like, who even goes on Reddit?” I quickly chimed in that I, of course, browse through Reddit from time to time.
I mean, doesn’t everyone find themselves at some point falling down the rabbit hole of subreddits? Apparently not. I was met with shocked faces. It seems I am the only one of my friends who uses Reddit. Then came the bombardment of questions about why I use Reddit or what I use Reddit for.
Until that point, I was unaware there was such a stigma against Reddit in our society. It’s not only my friends — much of the internet thinks Reddit is strange. The conversation piqued my interest and after conducting a quick Google search, I found out that Reddit has basically become part of the “dark side” of the Internet.
Reddit is an online forum for conversations and debate. In my opinion, it is no different than social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, where, as we know, debates of all kinds take place.
Reddit is unique in that you can upvote or downvote posts, so in theory, the best content goes to the top of the subreddit. However, in practice, this can cause a lack of diversity in thoughts as it indirectly silences minority opinions, which are downvoted or pushed to the bottom.
In my experience, the severity of Reddit’s main flaw depends on the subject of the subreddit. The more controversial and bipartisan the topic of the subreddit, the more skewed the upvoting is. Redditors will upvote posts not based on the quality or honesty of the content, but because it agrees with their own opinions. Just like on Twitter, I tend to avoid heated debates because things can get ugly with the anonymity of the Internet.
Speaking of anonymity, Reddit has fostered more anonymity for its users than arguably any other social media platform. Users on Reddit post in forums of discussion rather than individual posts on their profile. That’s one of the reasons I feel attracted to using Reddit: it guarantees anonymity while expressing your opinions.
I have discovered so many insightful opinions and helpful tips on Reddit about the most random topics. Search for anything on Reddit and you’ll find a community for it.
On the other hand, anonymity makes it difficult to know the truth or see a person’s agenda. Anonymity can be abused to spread lies and misinformation online. That’s one of the complaints my friend had about me using Reddit: she’s concerned I am being fed false facts and conspiracies. I had to assure her I am not being brainwashed by Reddit. I merely use it like any other website and don’t take it seriously, which is why I probably enjoy it despite its criticisms.
Like everything on the Internet, don’t believe everything you read online. Use your own judgment and you’ll be fine on Reddit.