July 4, 2013
Six Percent Of Americans Use Reddit
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Online community Reddit is often credited with giving birth to Internet memes, breaking news before it's news, and even rallying together its users in protests or to exact social justice. With nearly 70 million users on the site, it's become one of the more popular online destinations.
Now the Pew Internet & American Life Project has set out to discover just how broad Reddit's user base has become and, according to their research, six percent of all American adults online are Reddit users. This is the first time Pew has surveyed Internet users about Reddit, and while six percent represents a large number of people, it's still significantly less than the number of people who use Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
After completing their survey, Pew found young males are most likely to use Reddit. When asked, 15 percent of all adult males between 18- and 29-years old say they are "especially likely" to visit the site. Only five percent of women in the same age range said they were likely to peruse Reddit; eight percent of older men, ages 30-49, were likely to do the same.
Like they do in other surveys, the Pew group broke down the results into different demographics. They found eleven percent of all Hispanics surveyed reported using Reddit while five percent of White, Non-Hispanics and four percent of Black, Non-Hispanics surveyed said they were Redditors. Users were also more likely to have no high school diploma according to the study, (nine percent) though users with a college degree were quite present at seven percent. The majority of these users lived in urban areas, with suburban and rural areas following behind.
Reddit credits itself as being the "front page of the Internet," capturing news stories and developing memes which are then either voted up or down by the users. Those stories or news items which are given enough up votes are made more visible and therefore gain more traffic. Celebrities and other public figures often give interviews to the entire site called AMAs, or Ask Me Anything. President Obama famously participated in one of these AMAs where Redditors asked him about foreign policy, the legalization of marijuana, and the recipe to the beer brewed at the White House.
Reddit is also credited with originating several memes, or pictures captioned with sentiments around a particular theme. One particular meme is made up of pictures of popular TV chef Gordon Ramsey yelling at contestants in his reality television show "Hell's Kitchen."
Though the Reddit community is often hailed as a place to share news or ideas with one another, it's also been accused of harboring Internet trolls and some of the more unsavory portions of the Internet. Violent and explicit pictures are often posted to specific portions of the site called subreddits. One particular poster, known as "Violentacrez" had been deemed a notorious Internet troll after creating several subreddits which were filled with pictures of underage girls and dead women. During his time on Reddit, Violentacrez was even given awards by Reddit founders for his contributions to the site. Last October, Gawker's Adrian Chen unmasked this troll as Michael Brutsch, a 49-year old programmer from Arlington, TX.
When asked about posting pictures of underage girls under a subreddit titled "Jailbait," Brutsch said the images weren't any worse than anything seen in a modern pop video.