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What reddit has taught me about life.

December 29, 2012

Most of my friends aren’t redditors. [redditor(n)-someone who reddits] In fact, most of them probably don’t even understand what reddit really is and they get this glazed look in their eyes whenever I talk about it. Which is often. So I thought and thought, looked high and low for a solution to this predicament. What’s a girl to do when her nearest and dearest are clearly missing out on one of The Best things life has to offer? She intervenes of course!

I’ve learned that we all love stories. So I’ll start this educational post with a story.

Once upon a time, I didn’t know what reddit was. I mean, I had heard of it. I knew it was a social site and referred to itself as “the front page of the internet.” (which I thought was a lame tag line) And when I finally checked out the “front page of the internet,” I spent exactly 2.7 seconds on it and decided clipping my toe nails would probably be more interesting. The user interface sucked. It wasn’t colourful or pretty or organized with beautifully designed buttons and menus. Nope. Just a bunch of blue links and text.

But never judge a book by its cover, my dear one, for the covers you deem unworthy of your time could be the gems you’ve been searching for all your life.

So fast forward a couple years and I was living in Korea. I came across this video of Neil Degrasse Tyson. He’s an astrophysicist and is probably the coolest person to have ever lived. I fell in love with that video and wanted to read/save the transcript. I googled and googled and couldn’t find one. So being the enterprising, take-matters-into-my-hands kinda girl I was raised to be, I decided to transcript the video myself. A couple hours later, I realized that spending two hours working on something and not sharing the fruits of that labour with at least one other person is inefficient use of time. So I uploaded the transcript to my blog.

My friend who follows my blog (because that’s what good friends do) who also happens to be a redditor, saw the post, realized the athiesm subreddit would love it, and shared my blog post with a community of 600,000 redditors. And the rest, as they say, is history.

My blog stats had hovered around 100 views/day before reddit. That morning I woke up to 7000 hits and it slowly climbed to over 25000 over the course of that day. Yup, I was going to fall for reddit. And fall hard I did.

So what exactly is it about reddit that I love so much? Glad you asked. I’m sure you’ve heard of these quotes: “You are the sum of the top 5 people you spend time with.” Or “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” These quotes are saying that your life education is limited to the people you know- your social circle. We naturally gravitate towards and get along with people that are like us or who have had the same experiences. But in the process, we miss out on the learning we could have had from those different to us. The problem is, it’s not very practical in real life. Or maybe I should say, it’s not easy.

Enter Reddit. You get to hear stories and candid recounts of so many amazing and diverse perspectives and life experiences that you’re forced to open your mind and consider the opposites to your beliefs. In the process, you’ll find out that there are also people who think like you- and you’re not so weird after all. (YAY!)

Here’s a list of how Reddit has completely changed my outlook on so many aspects of life- from the small everyday things to life’s bigger questions.

1. You’re not alone. And none of your characteristics or quirks are truly unique to you. What’s that? Oh you were told that you’re different and special? Well, that’s true. You are different. And you are special. And you are unique. Notice I didn’t say YOU weren’t. I said none of your characteristics or quirks are special.

There is at least one other person on this planet who does something exactly the way you do it regardless of how weird you think it may be. Still not getting it? Ok, maybe an example will help.

So one of the grossest things I’m forced to do sometimes is pull out a wad of hair out of my shower drain because too much hair got stuck in there. I’m sure this is less likely to happen to you if you have short hair. So if you’re thinking HUH or are confused as to why this would ever happen to anyone, you have short hair. But you already knew that. Ok getting back to my point. So that’s pretty gross. Hair is beautiful and luscious and all things good while it’s still stuck to your head. But once it is detached from the head, it becomes this thing to go ew at- for lack of a better word. Anyway, instead of having to deal with the gross drain, I collect the hair that falls out while I shampoo/condition in my hands and stick it on to the wall tiles. I’m not really sure how I figured this out but it occurred to me one day and I started doing it. I’d stick the fallout hair on to the wall tiles and at the end of my shower, I’d collect it into a big ball of yucky hair and put it in the garbage. So much better than reaching in to the disgusting drain. I thought I was the only one that did this. But nope. A girl on reddit wrote about how she does this exact thing. And I sat there staring at my computer screen like whoa. mind=blown.

2. There really is no such thing as good or bad. Good or bad is determined by your perspective or the lens with which you view life. If you feel strongly about something, whether that’s the positive extreme or negative extreme, realize that there’s someone out there who believes the exact opposite of you with the exact same conviction. What I’ve learned is that it’s important to hear as much of a person’s story as they’re willing to share before judging. Or at least being aware that you are human and therefore subconsciously you are making judgments whether you like it or not. Becoming aware of it is the first step.

The next step is to find that one thing you believe in so much and have it challenged. It didn’t happen intentionally for me. I stumbled on a pedophile’s story by accident. http://www.reddit.com/r/ForeverAlone/comments/127isg/why_ill_be_forever_alone/c6sx65i Having taught kids and being an aunt, that’s one explanation I didn’t think deserved to be heard. Until I read it. The story doesn’t justify it or say it’s right- it just provides an explanation. An explanation that I would never have heard were it not for Reddit. I believe that at the end of the day, whether you agree or disagree with what you’ve heard, just having heard and internalized something completely foreign to you makes you a better person.

3. The importance of asking why. This is a story about how one guy proposed with a ring that was personal, meaningful and not plucked off an expensive shelf. http://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/comments/12gt7l/best_place_to_buy_engagement_ring/c6uxqcf We all know that the idea of engagement rings was fabricated and then heavily marketed by the diamond industry itself- De Beers to be exact (if you haven’t heard this, google it- probably the single most successful campaign ever) We know this but it has become so ingrained in our society that no one questions it. The guy is expected to shell out thousands for a ring and the girl is expected to expect that. This story taught me the importance of asking why you’re doing what you’re doing, if it makes sense to you, and tweaking it if it doesn’t.

4. Humans are inherently good and given the chance, they will always choose to do good rather than bad. I’ve always believed this but it’s easy to forget on a day-to-day basis while stuck in traffic or fighting for parking spots.There are so many restore-your-faith-in-humanity stories on reddit- the guy who wired money to a complete stranger because he didn’t have enough for the bills and Christmas presents for his children or the guy in Japan who upon finding out that a redditor’s grandma was stuck at home during the earthquake offered to deliver a care package with all her favourite stuff. These examples don’t even scratch the surface of the kind of awesome you will find on Reddit. And we’re talking complete strangers who expect absolutely nothing in return and will probably never meet.

They say that you are what you think about most of the time- and Reddit, given you choose the right subreddits, will force-feed you everything good, inspire you to dig deeper and teach you to look at life from the eyes of so many awesome people that it rubs off on you.

Now that I’ve piqued your interest, how do you learn to best use Reddit, get past the initial unfriendliness that is its user interface and unlock its infinite awesomeness? Find out with this easy to follow ebook I personally wrote divulging all my top secrets for only 3 easy payments of 39.99. Just kidding. Reddit will probably disown me and ban me for life if I were to do that. I will write up that post as soon as I finish editing and posting this one 🙂 And it will be free.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Fellow Redittor permalink
    January 10, 2013 5:05 am

    Hello fellow redditor. I saw you at the CTAA formal. This is my first time seeing another Tamil redditor lol. I like your blog. It’s interesting to read.

    • January 11, 2013 1:42 am

      Thanks fellow tamil redditor 🙂

      • Fellow Redittor permalink
        February 9, 2013 10:28 pm

        When are you going to post your next blog post? 🙂 I keep checking this site for new post.

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