Is Reddit Social Media?

Reddit is the 6th most used popular app in the US with more than 52 million active daily users and over 50 billion monthly views. It isn’t just famous among mobile users but almost half of the Reddit traffic originates from the United States making it the most used forum in the country.

What makes Reddit popular is the wealth of knowledge that it offers. You can literally find information on everything from people around the world. Ask a question or share your thoughts, whatever you like. The content is the key driver at Reddit that makes it an amazing platform for people of all ages especially young males:

reddit users age stats

Despite all the fame, a lot of people aren’t sure if Reddit is a social media platform or a forum or something else. If you are one of these people, keep reading to find out what exactly Reddit is and should you call it social media or something else.

What is Reddit?

reddit homepage screenshot

Reddit is a social news, aggregation, and discussion website. It is an online forum that is focused on three things: Posts, comments, and votes. People publish content on their favorite topic, others read and comment, and those who like or dislike posts and comments can upvote or downvote them. Users can post text, links, images, and videos so it isn’t only about the text.

Reddit has thousands of small forums known as subreddits. Each subreddit specifically deals with a single topic (or category). Subreddits are standalone sub-forums that come with their own rules and regulations.

Here is an example of top news communities:

reddit subreddit screenshot

Users can join any subreddit they want and be part of the community. Once being part of a community, you get the right to comment and vote.

Is Reddit Social Media?

Now that you know what Reddit is about, let’s figure out if it is a social media platform or something else.

Social media is defined as a website that lets people create and share content. It is a place where people socialize. Here is a list of key characteristics of a social media platform:

  • Social media sites are free
  • Users can create their profile and add personal details
  • Social media users can upload and share the content of all types
  • People can communicate and collaborate and engage in conversations (including one-to-one private conversations)
  • Users can follow, unfollow, like/dislike, and share content within the social media platform.

If you look at Reddit, it meets the basic criterion of social media that is: It lets people create and share content. Users have their profile, they can follow/unfollow, and you can send private messages to users. However, it doesn’t allow detailed user profiles with bio as you’ll see on other platforms.

Here is how a Reddit profile looks like:

reddit profile example

As you can see, there is no personal detail or profile photo. In fact, you don’t need to add any personal details to have a Reddit ID. 

Reddit is focused on content (subreddits) instead of people. In a traditional social media platform, people (or users) are at the center of the platform. Consider Facebook. If you look at your News Feed, you’ll see posts from different people and/or pages:

facebook news feed example

It is hard to follow topics or interests rather you can follow people or pages and all the content is centered around the people who post them.

Reddit, on the other hand, is focused on content (subreddits) instead of people. The users are anonymous rather user IDs are negligible and the title of the post is highlighted to make it prominent:

reddit screenshot

You’ll love content posted by someone but you might not know the person who posted it. This is what makes Reddit unique. According to Tim Squirrel:

“If Facebook is people you know sharing things you don’t care about, Reddit is things you care about shared by people you don’t know.”

Reddit has two things that drive it:

  1. Anonymity
  2. Communities.

This makes it somewhat different than other social media platforms where people are more important than anything else. And this is a possible reason why a lot of people think that Reddit isn’t a social media because you don’t get a profile. In fact, you can create a Reddit account with fake information to ensure anonymity.

So, is Reddit social media?

Well, yes, it is.

It meets all or most of the criteria of a social networking platform with two exceptions: Anonymity and communities. But it is still a social media platform by its definition and the way it works.

On the other extreme, it resembles a forum where people interact and meet to share ideas and views on a specific topic. This is a more suitable definition but since Reddit has transformed into a multichannel social network, it is now considered more of a social media forum.

Final Words

Whether you call Reddit social media or an online forum or social media forum, it is the best place on the internet to say whatever you like without any fear. You can share your views, thoughts, and ideas openly by keeping your identity disclosed.

This is one of the most common reasons why people prefer using Reddit. Of course, there are a lot of people who don’t like using Reddit or don’t even know about it because they’re more into traditional social media sites.

One thing that makes Reddit unique is its user-base. People on Reddit are nerds. It isn’t for everyone. And Reddit users are crazy about it and don’t go anywhere else. A study found that 82% of Gen Zers trust Reddit whenever they need information about a product.

Why do they trust it?

Because it is transparent and anonymous. People aren’t afraid to share their thoughts on Reddit as compared to some other social media site (e.g. Facebook).

Cyber-bullying is common on conventional social media platforms more than Reddit. You can’t bully someone on Reddit for two reasons. First, anonymity. Since you don’t know the person, you can’t say much about him/her. Second, rules. Yes, Reddit isn’t the type of social media site where you can post just anything you like and get away with it. Moderators will catch you soon.

No matter what you consider Reddit to be, it is the best place on the internet. You must check it out.

Featured Image: Pexels

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