Many people have at least heard of the complex, soul-sucking addiction that is Reddit. And some have the misfortune of understanding exactly what that entails. Hello, I am Nicole, and I am addicted to a website.
Unfortunately a Reddit welcome wouldn’t be quite as warm and friendly as a simple ‘hi,’ but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless.
When I went to college, my first introduction to the site was through a friend who was constantly on his computer looking at various subreddits. I never understood the fascination with the site mostly because it confused the hell out of me. What is a subreddit? How do you look at pictures? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?! I didn’t really feel the need or desire to get involved.
That is, until I graduated and found myself with a lot more free time and the crushing loneliness that one can only get from leaving college.
I guess I can technically refer to myself as a “responsible Redditor” because I waited until after college before spiraling into the depths of the internet. It wasn’t intentional; it actually started because another friend of mine kept sending me pictures of cats (duh.) and telling me she found them on Reddit. This just happened to coincide with me not being in college anymore.
Slowly but surely I became obsessed. I started out in all the beginner subreddits like advice animals, fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu, funny, and pics. But from the point of origin as a doe-eyed novice to now I like to think of as my Reddit maturation period. I went from being a curious lurker without an account to someone whose subs reflect the habits of the true Nicole. Gone are the days where I sat behind my computer screen snickering at rage comics and poorly delivered puns. (I’m just kidding – my inability to create puns is 100% equal to my love for them.)
I want people to see me for who I am through these upvotes and comments. People should see me as an animal-loving (obsessed?) feminist who is, well, pretty damn funny. Not because this is the way I so desperately desire to be seen, but because these are important values in my life and I would love to connect with others over a similarity. I’ll post a comment here or there and wait for the upvotes to roll in as I pat myself on the back for my clever remark. I’ve done enough lurking of other people’s inputs to understand the sorts of things that get the highest karma. Usually they’re witty or just painfully honest, two things that I am well versed in. So commenting on Reddit should leave me with an intense karmagasm, right?
Fifteen minutes and -45 karma later I’m confused and on the verge of deleting my comment, my self-confidence crying hysterically in a corner. I’ve received PMs telling me to kill myself, asking how big my boobs are, and generally telling me off for being a pathetic loser. I watch other people soar above me and wonder what I did wrong. Answer: I still don’t know – seriously, what the hell did I do to these people!?
Two years later on Reddit and I still haven’t made it work in my favor. I don’t understand the concept of downvoting people for absolutely no reason, and I really cannot grasp why some are driven by a need for karma. I’m becoming the sort of snob who turns their nose up at reposted content, downvoting all karmawhores and trolls I come across because seriously, name one benefit of being either.
When I hear other people mention that they use the site in real life, I feel an immediate connection with them. ‘You Reddit, too?! Great, we BOTH waste way too much of our time stuck on computers instead of doing something productive! Let’s be friends; I’ll send you my account and you can talk to me through PMs. Because, let’s be honest, we’re not seeing people any time soon.”
Mostly I lurk, but I appreciate what I gain from Reddit. I am able to learn a lot about tons of topics that interest me, obsess over adorable animals, and maybe one day I’ll actually say something that fellow users deem worthy of reading.
Nicole is afraid to post a picture of her cat on her second cake day because her cat is perfect, and she doesn’t want to see the inevitable downvotes.