Your personalized front page, online

It’s everything you may want and more. It’s your news, personalized for you, and so much more.

Launched in 2005, Reddit.com, the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” has become incredibly popular in recent years. This is due, in part, to its convenience to find anything users may find relevant and interesting.

Fast forward to 2010, when Reddit started to become the phenomenon as we know it today. According to TechCrunch, in January 2010, Reddit had 250 million page views, but by the end of the year, that number almost quadrupled to a solid 829 million views.

This spike in users in 2010 is due in part to Digg’s v4 redesign, which received negative reception from patrons. Upon the overhaul, users swarmed to Reddit because of its design, which they found easier to navigate and find stories that were relevant to them.

As Reddit gained more users, the community’s identity started to form. What started as a website to post Internet memes quickly turned into something much more – an actual way to get news that mattered to the public.

Users posted more stories and raised awareness of issues that may not have been covered by the mass media, and the public noticed. 2010 was a defining year for Reddit, and we’re still seeing the result of this growth.

But that’s only the beginning of the story for the site.

The most fascinating thing about Reddit is that users can make the experience their own. If they want to see strictly posts about science or movies, it’s entirely possible to do so.

Content is posted to ‘‘subreddits,’’ of which there are thousands. Popular ones include ‘‘pics,’’ ‘‘funny,’’ ‘‘politics,’’ ‘‘gaming’’ and ‘‘wtf.’’ Users may unsubscribe from these default subreddits and subscribe to niche ones such as ‘’Seattle’’ or ‘‘poetry.’’

Perhaps the most popular feature of Reddit is their “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) sub-reddit. Here, ordinary people and celebrities can answer questions users may have for them. President Barack Obama and former Governor/Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger are two notable participants in this forum.

As of Feb. 1, 2013, Digital Marketing Ramblings estimated that about 43 million people use Reddit, which has accumulated over 37 billion page views in the last year.

Despite the success, Reddit’s background doesn’t go without its share of tragedy. In early 2013, Reddit founder Aaron Swartz hung himself in his New York apartment.

In 2011, Swartz was arrested on state breaking and entering charges for unlawfully downloading files from academic database JSTOR. Swartz was charged with two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a penalty that had Swartz facing 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine including forfeiture, restitution and supervised release.

Swartz’s death sent the Reddit community into frenzy – a young man who helped create this empire was now dead, and blame was being placed on the federal agents who arrested Swartz. Even right now, users on Reddit call for reformation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and for the resignation of the agents involved with the arrest of Swartz.

It’s clear the Reddit empire will not let Swartz’s death go without justice and will do everything in their power to help the young man have his voice, even after death. Despite the rise of Reddit, it isn’t without its critics. Some have complained of the site’s layout and content. These critics believe the layout is too simple and ugly for Reddit to have any longevity and that it needs to be revamped completely.

Reddit clearly has its critics and its fans, but one thing is for certain: it’s here to stay, and it’s changing how people look at news and how they get their information.

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Title: Your personalized front page, online | Author: Jacob Morales | Section: Features | Published Date: 2013-02-27 | Internal ID: 8590