New Delhi: When Alexis Kerry Ohanian and Steve Huffman founded Reddit in 2005, little did they realise that the social discussion platform would one day unite young netizens across the world in a way that even social networking giant Facebook may feel threatened.
The social news aggregation, web content rating and discussion website that gave a space for young minds to not only vent their frustrations but also participate in hot online debates around each and everything under the hood – from politics and sports to food and sex – has now taken young Indians by storm who are joining Reddit in a big way.
Reddit which hails itself as “the front page of the Internet” was ranked as the fifth most visited website in the US and 13th in the world, according to Alexa Internet.
“Reddit and its users have become a mirror of the Internet: it has dingy corners, shiny memes, malicious trolls, and a sometimes heart-melting ability to connect people across cultures, oceans, and ideological divides,” says Christine Lagorio-Chafkin in his book “We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet’s Culture Laboratory”.
According to Swati Chaturvedi, a college-going student from Noida, Reddit has opened her eyes about so much happening around in the country and the world.
“The discussion threads are very informative. Also, I haven’t faced any privacy issue on Reddit so far and find it more secure that Facebook,” Chaturvedi told IANS.
In April, almost 1.6 billion visits were measured to the online forum, making it one of the most-visited websites online, according to statista.com.
Reddit with over 130,000 sub-forums and communities allows registered users, called Redditors, to post content.
The post is open to the entire Reddit community to vote upon, either by down or “upvotes”.
The most popular posts are featured directly on the front page.
Subreddits are available by category and Redditors can follow selected “subreddits” relevant to their interest and also control what content they see on their custom front page.
Although Reddit does not regularly disclose its users numbers like Facebook or Twitter, the online discussion forum had over 330 million users globally in 2018.
The online discussion fever is growing among the millennials in India.
“I recently joined Reddit and found it very useful. I like the feature where my followers can post ‘upvotes’ and ‘downvotes’ for each post and comment. The concept of earning ‘karma’ for the posts and comments which reflects the user’s standing within the community and their contributions to Reddit is also a great concept,” said 20-year-old Anshul Tiwari from Delhi.
Earlier this year, Reddit’s valuation rose to $3 billion, up from $1.8 billion in 2017, according to media reports.
The most popular subreddits on the site are the “blue-chip communities” AskReddit and “IAmA” (ask me anything).
The “Wholesome Memes” on the platform are not only heart-warming but are also helping to shape a better, more positive online space, say Indian users.
At the moment, Redditt is not as bullish on India as other social media platforms are but days are not far when Ohanian – married to tennis star Serena Williams – would look at the country and say: This is where Reddit’s next growth is.