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Evolution of Reddit: From the Front Page of the Internet to a Self-referential Community?

Evolution of Reddit: From the Front Page of the Internet to a Self-referential Community?

Published: 2014 April

Buchtitel: Proceedings of the 23rd international conference on World Wide Web companion
Verlag: ACM
Organisation: International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee

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In the past few years, Reddit – a community-driven platform for submitting, commenting and rating links and text posts – has grown exponentially, from a small community of users into one of the largest online communities on the World Wide Web. In this paper we study (i) how user submissions have evolved over time and (ii) how the community’s allocation of attention and its perception of submissions have changed on Reddit. Our results reveal an ever- increasing diversification of topics opposed to a concentration towards only a few domains that submissions link to. By and large, our investigations suggest that Reddit has transformed itself from a dedicated gateway to the Web to an increasingly self-referential community that focuses on and reinforces its own user-generated image and textual content over external sources. To the best of our knowledge, this work presents the largest-scale analysis of Reddit’s evolution to date and provides a starting point for future research on Reddit as well as for scientists interested in studying the ways in which rapidly growing online communities evolve over time.