As any good and faithful student knows, study breaks are a necessity. Time spent between chapters when studying, paragraphs when writing, or problems in other classes is key to refresh the mind. Sometimes, however, that luxurious time can’t be spent outside or simply isn’t in abundance; sometimes all you’ve got is five minutes on your phone (and sometimes those five minutes end up being a few more than five minutes due to sweet entertainment).
Now introducing my latest hinderance to academic success: Reddit.
Reddit is not new by any stretch of the imagination– It’s been around since 2005 and been on the app store for several years. In fact, it’s one of the most visited websites on the internet. I, however, have only just passed the year mark of owning a reddit account, and it was not until recently that it became an app that I frequented.
Disclaimer: this is not a paid advertisement– simply a satisfied customer.
I have social media accounts on all kinds of websites, and honestly enjoy most of them, but my affinity towards Reddit these days is special.
What amazes me about the app is not that it has any sort of groundbreaking technological improvements or the fact that all my friends do it (actually, none of my friends use it). What has continued to amaze me about Reddit is the unique sense of community on the app– from one complete stranger to another.
For those unfamiliar with Reddit, it is a site similar to others where people simply update their status with whatever kind of information they want. The unique part, however, is that users’ posts don’t station themselves to a general feed. Reddit organizes itself by “subreddits”, treating each topic or page as a separate community. Users join or follow whatever subreddits they wish to decide what kind of content they want to see; it’s as easy as typing in r/, then searching for whatever you want following that front slash. r/food, for example, is a subreddit about food. This process enables a person’s feed to be completely their choice– but it is uniquely sorted by content rather than by people.
This has become my addiction recently because of my appreciation for video games. Ever since I was a child, my mind has craved the experience of getting lost in the beautiful creativity of video games, experiencing the beauty of digital art, story-telling, and challenge all wrapped into a game. Following video game developer pages and watching gameplay videos is fun, but when I’m playing through a new, exciting game, I want to talk to other people about it. And boy, did I find a group of people to talk about it with.
Life is dull if we do not experience it with those around us. The ability, therefore, to jump in and join a subreddit on the Legend of Zelda as I play through the series’ latest release, enhances my experience. To listen to other gamers’ input, criticisms, or simply funny stories is captivating, and suddenly I find myself connected to random people across the globe because of our shared experiences on one feed. Not to mention, there is comfort in the fact that my posts will stay on this subreddit, knowing that my game-specific comments will only be posted in a place where they will be appreciated.
All this is to say that I am a nerd, and I am glad to have located an app that allows me to geek out over my passions with similar people; I wish I had found it sooner. There is power in the formation of community around a topic, and I applaud Reddit for their unique configuration of social media to cultivate this kind of community– no matter the topic. Creating valuable community around a product is a marketer’s dream, and this is a prime example of what that looks like.