I was having a conversation with some friends not long ago and we were discussing stories we'd heard about and articles we'd read (news, politics, economics, all very informed stuff). After several minutes, and once I realized that everything I had to contribute to the conversation was something I had read on Reddit, I remembered my friends probably also had found their information from Reddit.
So when my turn came to contribute again, I said that I read on Reddit an article about whatever it was that we'd been talking about. One of my friends nodded and said that's where he'd seen it too. I figured we all knew we spend time on Reddit and most, if not all, of our intelligent conversation was coming from things we'd seen on the site, so we might as well just admit it.
Which was kinda cool, in a way. Here we are, young professionals having a beer and talking about things that are going on in the world right now, all because we spend an hour or two (fine, fine, 6) browsing this one website. We're informed in politics, we have an educated opinion about the economy, we're aware of our environment and we care about events across the world.
The other day I saw a picture of an engagement ring some guy had posted, asking for luck as he flew to another country to meet his girlfriend to propose. Some people had commented that he better hope she doesn't see it and the surprise is ruined, while others were offering suggestions on how he should actually propose, since he hadn't figured that part out yet. He said he figured she wouldn't see it, since she'd already been traveling for a week with friends and wouldn't have had the time to browse enough Reddit to see it (it wasn't on the front page, so it would have been unlikely she'd go through pages and pages to discover it), and that if she found out his brilliant or clever or romantic proposal came from some idea on Reddit she'd be OK with it because she already knew anything clever or interesting came from Reddit. And that's when I realized it's the same with me.
Kind of impressive to think that one website can have so much influence. Because I browse Reddit for at least a few minutes every day (some days much more) and subscribe to "subreddits" that I'm interested in, I'm up to date on things I care about. In fact, a lot of the articles I read on the site show up on Facebook and in the Huffington Post a day or two later. (Aside: I can usually tell which of my Facebook friends are Redditors based on the articles they post.) We're becoming a generation who is not only interested in what's going on outside of our immediate lives, but we have an opinion and sometimes we even care enough to do something about it. It's fantastic.
I really hope that this experience is turning us into activists who decide to not sit by and let bad things happen.... maybe that's just the idealism talking in me but it'd be nice to think that all of this information being spread around to all parts of the world has to have an impact on something. Right?