Reddit growing in popularity

Reddit has become one of the most popular sites on the Internet. It didn’t happen overnight – Reddit has been around for five years – but 2011 is when it came into its own and became a social force.

It is a firehose of posts submitted by its users, loosely organized into “subreddits” in bewildering complexity. You’ll have to spend some time figuring out its structure and getting a start on organizing the homepage that you see when you visit the site so that it displays things that interest you. It’s messy and disorganized and overwhelming, but more and more people are using it as their launching pad to kill time and find interesting things online. According to one article, it’s closing in on 2 billion page views a month.

Here’s the kind of thing that happens on Reddit these days:

In late October, a young woman posted a video on YouTube that showed her father brutally beating her with a belt. She had recorded it secretly six years earlier. After a fight with her father, a Texas judge, she told him she would be uploading it to the Internet to expose his abusive past.

She did. But nothing happened. The video sat on YouTube and few people noticed.

So, the woman, a now 23-year-old Hillary Adams, turned to Reddit, a social media site and posted a message: “Family law judge beats own daughter for using the Internet, please spread.”

Within hours, an almost professional-crisis-mode response went into effect: telephone numbers for the local media were found, Web site information about the court system was posted and a police investigation was underway. Within a day, Adams went from frustrated to sitting on the “Today” show couch with Matt Lauer, discussing her situation.

There is a lot of information online about how to use Reddit as an online marketing tool, but less about how to get oriented as a reader. Try this, or just go over and begin reading and clicking. If you become addicted and you have an Android phone, you might want to look at the app described in this article.

You may have thought you already knew ways to waste time online but Reddit will open vast new landscapes for killing productivity. Try to keep yourself under control.

Reddit has been added to the front page of Bruceb Favorites under Online Services. (You’re using Bruceb Favorites as your home page, right? I mean, really, why wouldn’t you?) Enjoy!

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