Internet communities

Of course I had heard of Reddit and 4chan but I honestly had no idea what they were all about. I feel a little strange feeling like such an outsider in such an apparently huge part of the revolution of the internet. I’m supposed to be in the most connected age group of the digital age but here I am completely unaware of what sites like this were like and how influential they were. I didn’t know there were huge interests in these forum type networks. Reddit for example is basically any idea, comment or link that people find important or interesting and they post it on the site or subsection and the posts either gets voted up or down in popularity. The idea is that the content people are most interested in will rise to the top of these lists and people can entertain or educate themselves in what there interested in. The way the creators of Reddit would put it they are” democratically pushing up” through their system. It’s a pretty interesting idea; it’s like a more specific Google that predicts what you want before you want it.

The most surprising part of these whole phenomena of websites is their power and influence. During the Ted talks video and in the article about 4chan they discuss the top 100 most influential people list in 2009. 4chan users wanted creator and sole employee of the site, Christopher Poole, to be on the top of the list. They basically organized themselves to vote Poole to the top of the list eventually betting out strong figures like Oprah Winfry and Obama. It was clearly rigged so he didn't make first by “Peoples “magazine standards but he ended up being somewhere on that list. Or the example of Steve jobs death hoaxes and at one point was so widely believed to be true apples stocks dropped a significant amount but bounced back in a day. I remember these things happening which is the weird part. I remember hearing about events or things that happened or memes and all this time its spouting from these sorts of sites while I had no idea. It makes me question how wide the scope of popularity has gotten that reddit for example will change all the time because we change what’s popular and new that fast. We are truly creating popularity and sharing ideas in a new way. These little communities that form on these various websites are the reason the longtail effect is expanding and even exists. The little sub communities that create their own product. For example I believe it was 4chan where the whole “lolcat” meme started and it’s turned into a huge market of t-shirts, stickers, post cards ect.

The anonymity of these sites is a little frightening and freeing. Of course some of these communities can only exists entrenched in anonymity which is something that’s never been able to develop in real life before. This makes way for example the level of misogyny you encounter on reddit and 4chan, its okay to say whatever they want because there are really no rules. I guess I don’t mind the freedom in good and bad ways b the internet has to offer if it wern’t so accessible to children who haven’t grown up enough to form moral logical opinions. I don’t know the specific rules of buzzfeed for example, maybe they have stronger moderators but it seems a much more innocent category of websites like these. Even when I searched an explicit category like porn there were videos quizzes and articles but nothing that was actually pornographic. These are sites I even as a young adult more comfortable with.

These internet communities are both uniting and fragmenting to our society. i cant really decide on what side I stand on as to whats the stronger force but I don't believe popularity will ever die we just have a larger selection of whats considered popular.

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