Tag Archives: Boston

TIL (Today I Learned) about the power of Reddit

-Emily Fraysse

Otherwise known as “The Front Page of the Internet,” Reddit is an online source for what is popular, new, informational, and interesting on the web. With a simple black-outlined alien as their mascot, the Reddit community is tight-knit and informative. Through voting, the users of Reddit can decide on what is worth reading or looking at and what is not. The front page is constantly changing with new links to stories, photos, and videos that registered users upload or post, and it has its own slang, which consists of a list of commonly used acronyms.

In lieu of last Monday’s devastating events in Boston, people took it upon themselves to use Reddit, one of the most popular social media outlets, to post live updates about the incident, and information on how to find people and how to help post-bombing. An outpour of citizens in the Boston area posted onto a Google doc for marathon runners in need of a place to stay. Other Redditors offered their assistance by offering car rides to people in the metropolitan area and donating their unused frequent flier miles to people who need to get in or out of Boston. A sub-Reddit titled “random_acts_of_pizza,” which allows subscribers to order pizza deliveries for others as an act of kindness, offered those hosting runners a free pizza.

Links such as Live Scanner Feed, Google Person Finder, Redcross Safe and Well, and other important information regarding the bombings and safety flooded the tops of the Boston Marathon Bombing threads.

Today I Learned (TIL) that the Reddit community is powerful, strong, and growing. It is saddening to think that this kind of care only comes out in times of need, but Reddit continues to prove that point otherwise. In February of this year, a Redditor by the username of chewy01234 posted a thread titled, “r/Boston can you help a guy with a Kidney Transplant out in this snow storm? After the winter storm Nemo began to hit New England, he realized that his prescription medication was in New York, while he was stuck in Boston. Upvotes and comments boomed hours after the post, and four hours later, chewy01234 was contacted by the user rockstaraimz, who lived in Brookline. She herself was a kidney transplant recipient and was able to drop off some of her Prograf medication to save the man’s kidney.  In other cases, Redditors have raised funds for a man with terminal kidney cancer to travel the world, and Redditors found a hit-and-run driver faster than the Montreal Police.

The power of Reddit is undeniable, and by the looks of it, unstoppable. CNN writer Dorrine Mendoza called Reddit “a social platform where clever memes, photos of kittens and discussions of space, science and politics are interwoven with NSFW [not suitable for work] jokes, original artwork and an abundance of sexual innuendo. It can be simultaneously fascinating and offensive. And occasionally it is a place where the most intimate human moments are laid bare.”