Reddit and Quora, today's hot social sites

Reddit and Quora, today's hot social sites

Summary: Reddit has just published figures showing that its page views tripled last year, from 250 million in January to 829 million in December. The site benefited from Digg's awful redesign, which sent many users looking for a new home to share and comment on the latest links.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Reddit has just published figures showing that its page views tripled last year, from 250 million in January to 829 million in December. The site benefited from Digg's awful redesign, which sent many users looking for a new home to share and comment on the latest links. However, Reddit users also engaged in some spectacular community efforts, including the world's largest Secret Santa program. The site raised $185,356.70 for Haiti and $601,269 for DonorsChoose, which is the sort of thing that helps foster pride in belonging.

There are several social sites in this area, including Reddit, Digg, Slashdot, Metafilter and 4Chan. Each has its own niche. However, Reddit has a broader and more inclusive appeal, which should enable it to keep expanding its audience.

Quora is another social site that's attracting a lot of attention nowadays, particularly from Twitter users. It's a question-and-answer site intended to encourage longer and better answers than the current market leader, Yahoo Answers, or the more specialised Stack Exchange (based on Stack Overflow).

Quora was founded in 2009, opened a private beta in January 2010, and launched in June. It now has something short of half a million users, but the main attraction is the quality of the users answering questions on the site. Fast Company summed it up on Monday:

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz offers his opinion of the movie The Social Network. Google Images product manager Nate Smith explains how color image search works. Foursquare's head of business development talks about what it's like to work for founder Dennis Crowley. Twitter's Pierre Legrain explains the cost-per-follow principle for Promoted Accounts. And AOL co-founder Steve Case answers how much it cost to mail everyone those CDs back in the 1990s.

Over Christmas, blogger Robert Scoble made a good case for the site when asking: Is Quora the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years?. This prompted me to sign up, and may have prompted a mini-boom.

The question for both Reddit and Quora is whether they can retain their value after they start to attract spammers, trolls and the great ignoranti. Reddit has a system of up- and down-voting and enough intelligent users to discourage or bury the sort of ranting bigotry that makes Digg, YouTube and some other sites monuments to human stupidity. Quora also lets users vote answers up and down, and flag bad ones as Not Helpful. It also has a "follower" system, like Twitter, so you can block people after they have left a few low-quality comments. Whether that will be enough remains to be seen.

Topic: Tech Industry

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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16 comments
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  • The statement "The site raised $185,356.70 for Haiti and $601,269 for DonorsChoose" is false. Reddit was one VERY SMALL PART of a coalition that raised $601,269 for DonorsChoose. The coalition included big names like Facebook, Comedy Central, and Twitter, which are many times more popular than Reddit.
    LouFr
  • @LouF
    Evidence?

    Either way, there's an interesting piece on "Reddit’s Astonishing Altruism":
    A Look at the Kind Heart of One of the Most Influential Communities on the Internet
    http://voltier.com/2010/11/12/reddits-astonishin-altruism/
    Jack Schofield
  • And that piece is almost all factually incorrect. They took Reddit's PR releases and reprinted them without any fact-checking whatsoever, which is the very same thing that you did.

    The evidence wouldn't have taken you 5 minutes to locate had you simply done a Google search. DonorsChoose's page list Facebook and Colbert's page right on the freakin' donation page: http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/viewChallenge.html?id=39361&max=25

    Those donations are not tagged in any way as coming solely from Reddit. You really should retract the article. It is fundamentally wrong.
    LouFr
  • What, you think you're the only person in the world named Lou?

    Anyway, anyone who wants to know which Lou F is telling the truth can simply contact DonorsChoose.
    anonymous
  • As I just said, I did contact DonorsChoose. It is a lie. The facts are here: http://loufranklin.blogspot.com/2010/11/reddit-did-not-raise-500000-for-charity.html
    LouFr
  • Here's the deal: We ask members to post comments relevant to the site and to treat each other with respect. Please bear this in mind, or we'll have to remove all comments. As it is, this discussion is unlikely to be of much interest to other readers (who should correct me if I'm wrong).
    Karen Friar
  • How can you allow another user to assume my name and make statements as me? Can I make an account called "Karen Friar" with two spaces instead of one and put words in your mouth? Are you REALLY going to allow that?

    Please remove the user.
    LouFr
  • Here's my email address: Community.manager@zdnet.co.uk. We can continue this discussion off the site.

    Here's a general observation: As in life, many of our members have similar names. Readers know who is who by the comments they make, the tone and style of those comments and the expertise they show. Any member who wants to make it easier for others to identify them more distinctly can complete the profile section of their account.
    Karen Friar
  • Let's see if you can be so cavalier about it when it is YOUR name.
    LouFr
  • @LouF

    What do mean "YOUR name"? Anonymous handles are ten a penny, and carry even less weight. Why not use your real name, and a real photo, and link back to who you really are? I do.
    Jack Schofield
  • That IS my name. My name is Lou Franklin; LouF saves typing. How would typing my full name prevent somebody from stealing it.

    I could post some pretty horrible stuff under the name "Jack Schofeld" or "Jack Shofield" or "Jack space space Schofield. Very few people are going to do a complete photo identification on each post.

    Why would you allow that? Why does this site HAVE moderators if they allow people to impersonate others? What the hell is the matter with you people?
    LouFr
  • @LouF
    (a) I sympathise but it's Karen Friar's call so you should email her.
    (b) I think you have a stronger case if you post publicly with a real name and ID, but you might have to take legal action to protect your name....
    Jack Schofield
  • (a) I did email her. She told me that somebody posting "whoops never mind" under my name right after my posts is "not enough proof to assert that the member is trying to impersonate me".
    (b) This forum has a moderator. This is EXACTLY what a moderator is for.
    LouFr
  • @LouF

    The posts were removed by the author so it's a moot point. Personally I thought the response contributed in some small way to the general gaiety of the nation. Getting your knickers in a twist about Reddit users' contributions to charity is somewhat less funny.
    Jack Schofield
  • The posts were NOT removed by the author. Did you even look at the thread before spouting off? The fact that you continue posting over and over without knowing what you are talking about first isn't exactly a knee-slapper either. Kind of reminds me of your articles.

    Journalists are supposed to check their facts. You, on the other hand, write articles without doing any fact-checking whatsoever, and then attack those who notice as having their "knickers in a twist".

    How hard is it to do a Google search before reporting "the site raised $185,356.70 for Haiti and $601,269 for DonorsChoose"?
    LouFr
  • @LouF

    If you took a course in how to win friends and influence people, I suggest you ask for your money back.
    Jack Schofield