Monday, August 27, 2007

reddit: not a social bookmarking site

An email last week first reminded me of it and a blog entry from the weekend prompted me to finally write this entry. The earlier email was from a startup that isn't called Kirk about how we could discuss potential opportunities to work together. The sell included an offer to match real names with reddit user profiles to show what articles they've "bookmarked." This isn't the first time the site has been thought of this way, and it's a misconception we've been working on clearing up for a while.

We've struggled with how to describe reddit ever since we started it. Paul had suggested "a front page of the Web" and it was up to us to figure out what the hell it'd look like and how it'd work.

Del.icio.us/popular was an interesting -- albeit minor -- part of the site's functionality. You could see the most popular links being bookmarked, a byproduct of the site's purpose of storing, sharing, and discovering bookmarks.

This is social bookmarking. Delicious got it right and a bunch of other sites with similarly bizarre names emulated it.

But reddit is about new and interesting content, not reference material. True, we added the ability for users to "save" links, but it's never been an important part of the site. Instead, we wanted fresh content -- any kind of online content -- to rise and fall on the front page. News, but not News.

The words "social bookmarking" may have bumbled out of our mouths here and there, but we tried to avoid it. The New York Times likes calling sites like ours "news aggregators," but that sounds a bit too mechanized; Techmeme is a splendid news aggregator, as is GoogleNews. But we heart our users (most of the time) -- they make reddit everything it is -- so it only seems fair that it's reflected in the description.

"Social news" didn't make sense to anyone back then. I'm not sure it does now, but people sure are using it a lot more. So I guess we're a social news website.

9 comments:

themaroon said...

I bookmarked Reddit. Does that count?

Doomeru Woebashi said...

So, I see the Alien has five fingers. I guess this mean he doesn't inhabit the Simspons universe. Dang.

alexis [kn0thing] said...

@themaroon
Yes, but did you do it socially?


@doomeru
It's really hard to "live long and prosper" with only 4 fingers.

But you've given me an idea... a Simpsons-themed reddit logo week is long overdue.

Doomeru Woebashi said...

Well, that sounds like a great plan. Make sure to include the screaming episode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y3UuUfhst8

alexis [kn0thing] said...

Nice find! I had forgotten about that classic episode.


Note to self: finally see Simpsons movie.

The MacFarland said...

I think the best description of Reddit is as a "Democracy Powered News and Discussion Provider".

Alchemeron said...

If you don't like "news aggregator", how about "news percolator"?

Main Entry: per·co·late
Pronunciation: 'p&r-k&-"lAt, ÷-ky&-
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -lat·ed; -lat·ing
Etymology: Latin percolatus, past participle of percolare, from per- through + colare to sieve -- more at PER-, COLANDER
transitive verb
1 a : to cause (a solvent) to pass through a permeable substance (as a powdered drug) especially for extracting a soluble constituent b : to prepare (coffee) in a percolator
2 : to be diffused through : PENETRATE
intransitive verb
1 : to ooze or trickle through a permeable substance : SEEP
2 a : to become percolated b : to become lively or effervescent
3 : to spread gradually >allow the sunlight to percolate into our rooms -- Norman Douglas>
4 : SIMMER 2a <the feud had been percolating for a long time>

reetajenet said...

Social media marketing is not for everyone and won’t work for everyone. Before you take the plunge and invest your time and energy into any site , whether it be Digg or one of its competitors, take a moment to understand the site, the demographics of the site’s community, and the community’s . Communities are always evolving and what works today may not work tomorrow. Darren is a great example of this.
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Reeta

Social Bookmarking

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