Reddit: News from Online Community for Millennials
Millennials, the young generation being born after 1989, are becoming the majority of American population, and they are having much different ways of consuming news and information. Having one of their characteristics as deeply depending on the Internet, most Millennials are actually receiving news from social networks. Among all the social networks that Millennials use, there is one called Reddit that can provide everything that the Millennials are looking for – a research-free source of information that is presented in front of them, a platform to discuss and exchange thoughts with others, and entertainment within news. Comparing to the traditional news source like the New York Times, Reddit is certainly a better fit for the Millennials and provides a better environment for them to be updated with the world.
Millennials, or Generation Ys, are making up a growing portion of the population nowadays in America and other countries. Born from 1989 to 2000s, the Millennials are the generation that depend on the Internet and other technologies while consuming news. While the general opinion on the Millennials is that they barely learn about news, which is not true, the Millennials have their very own sources of information on the Internet and through the social networks. According to a Pew research, there are 61% of them are receiving political news from the Facebook (Mitchell, 2015). The Millennials prefer to read news that is more related to them, and want to be able to comment and discuss with others. There is a website called Reddit is providing the best platform for them.
What is Reddit? In the article “More Than Just Cat Pictures: Reddit as a Curated News Source,” Steven Ovadia introduced, “At its core, it allows users to post content and links to content, with other users voting on and commenting on it. All comments, content, and links can be voted either up or down, with high up-voted content moving up the site display into a higher position” (Ovadia, 2015). With the low limitations and requirements, Reddit users are more than happy to share their opinions on news and events with the online community. The users can identify the quality of the comments by the votes they have, and the most voted comments come up first while people are browsing a thread. In Branstetter’s article, “How Reddit Ate the News Media,” he compared Reddit with some of the popular online news websites like the BuzzFeed, and came up with the conclusion that Reddit may not have the best news articles, but the environment of discussing freely with everyone else is what others do not have. Among its user group of 36 million of accounts and 231 million of unique monthly visitors (Smith, 2016), the majority are young males from 18-29 years old (Sullivan, 2013), Reddit is a very attractive news source for those who are into technologies and discussion and can make people learn a lot more than reading news articles.
Advantages of Reddit
Comparing to traditional news websites like the New York Times, Reddit has its advantages of the depth of content and clarity through the users’ contribution. On the same topic of the Paris Attacks, the New York Times has its article introducing the event from the basics and also includes quotes from presidents (Nossiter, 2015). It is a typical news article that has everything that the reader needs to know to be updated, while it also has opinions from the authorities to provide the readers not only the facts, but also some analyzation and reactions. However, if anyone want to learn more about the event like “what happened to Syria” and “how are different countries reacting to this,” he is going to have a hard time doing research on the topic because there are too many articles on the similar topic that are pretty useless. As for Reddit, under the thread named “[Serious] Paris Attacks Megathread,” there are thousands of comments and replies from different users. Reading through the most voted comments, one can easily learn about the details about the topic from opinions on the events to the reaction of Australia government. Reddit is like a place where every user puts the information they get from any other sources together and shares with the community.
Another advantage of Reddit is that it is a source that “gives” users the news instead of requiring them to do the research. While researching, I had a really hard time to find a news post that I could use from major news websites, since there have been too many articles written on the topic and none of them has what I am looking for. However, I solved this problem after I found the “Paris Attacks Megathread” on Reddit. There is a link of the original New York Times article that I had been looking for right under the title. Web links are also Reddit’s core features. In different threads, people can put links in their comments and redirect others into a webpage, a blog, or even a Youtube video, and then they can discuss about it. Reddit gives up the traditional form of news media, but makes its users do all the work since only the users know what they want. Instead of having a few journalists writing the articles, everyone can be the contributor on Reddit and they can create the “article” together.
The Credibility Problem
However, Reddit, as many can see, is not a very authorized source since anyone can be writing on it. The comments are not as credible as the articles from major news sources, and people can be extreme, biased, or even racist. At the same time of receiving different opinions, one must be careful for what they should take and not. Even though users have to filter the information by themselves, I believe it still gives them the maximum freedom for what kind of information they receive.
In conclusion, Reddit is the place that many Millennials choose to go to be updated with the world. Even though there are no authorized articles nor interviews with politics, the users are co-creating their own news thread together with personal experiences, opinions, links, and votes. It is a very effective way of learning not only by reading all the contents, but also by joining the discussion. Reddit is really a place made for the Millennials to get their news rather than from traditional journalisms like the New York Times, because it saves their time, provide them a environment to comment discuss, and also give them a more thorough view of the events from other people.
Branstetter, B. (2014, November 2). How reddit ate the news media. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-sections/staff-editorials/10714/reddit-media-aggregator/
Mitchell, A., Gottfried, J., & Matsa, K. E. (2015, June 01). Millennials and political news. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from http://www.journalism.org/2015/06/01/millennials-political-news/
Nossiter, A., & Gladstone, R. (2015, November 13). Paris Attacks Kill More Than 100, Police Say; Border Controls Tightened. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/14/world/europe/paris-shooting-attacks.html?_r=0
Ovadia, S. (2015). More than just cat pictures: reddit as a curated news source. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 34(1), 37-40. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from http://academicworks.cuny.edu/
Smith, C. (2016, February 19). 60 Amazing Reddit Statistics. Retrieved March 01, 2016, from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/reddit-stats/
Sullivan, D. (2013, July 03). Who Reads Reddit? 6% Of US Internet Users, Young Men Are Highest Group. Retrieved March 01, 2016, from http://marketingland.com/who-reads-reddit-young-men-50615
Unknown2374. (2015, November). I live in canada, moved here more than four years ago when I was still in high school. I was raised in a muslim country, by a very religious mother. [Web log comment]. Retrieved February 22, 2016, from https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/3sqsyk/serious_paris_attacks_megathread/