OLJ Task 5: Social News Sites


For module 3.4, I allocated time to exploring a number of social news sites – and what a journey it was. I have heard of Reddit but always placed it within my mental file titled ‘Ever growing list of online platforms – only open when needed’. I signed up and immediately saw the option to tailor my home feed, I included my usuals topics; ‘Technology’, ‘Education’ and ‘Seinfeld’. Navigating during my initial viewing was not intuitive as so I searched ‘Reddit explained’ and watched a short clip. I was ready to view and 3-hours later I had to force myself from the site to write this blog post. The term social news site doesn’t really capture the entertainment that ensues when using Reddit. When exploring subreddits like Today I Learned (TIL), the content was a little disappointing – lacking any real depth, in-sight even a sense of achievement that I associate with learning – it was still entertaining. The content within the site is mediated by users voting for or against content even comments attached to content, devoiding little reliance on my movement within the platform that would feed an algorithm (Gibeault, 2016). I will continue to use this site though, predominantly for entertainment purposes, this comment is not to say that Reddit is not a beneficial source for educational or learning – it is more grounded in the fact that Reddit is, in my opinion, a saturation of information and threads. When seeking information a degree of focus and discipline must be adopted to avoid the ‘rabbit hole’ of human thought and idle meandering.



Nuzzel is a tool that I believe consolidates the multiple social media platforms into one of most importance or relevance, provided you have faith in the Nuzzel algorithm. This service is beneficial for users who are linked to their social networks and wish to save time pursuing or curating information. I did find this service valuable and it did make the bookmark bar on my browser.



I wonder if in 50-years from now society will look back on the current information revolution and view social media as a tool that was in its infancy – implying that its inevitable development or maturation will (or did) occur?  Similar to Ptolemy’s Geocentric model of the universe where the earth was believed to be at the centre, could social media platforms evolve to rely less on user voting or subscribers and more on axioms of epistemological founded truths? Are algorithms currently propagating the development of the easily distracted infant mind and yet to uncover the true purpose for enlightening humanity, like Copernicus’s heliocentric model of the universe where the sun took the deity-like seat at the centre of our solar system.



Image Credit: Jon S, Newspapers B&W (3), flickr, CC BY 2.0

Gibeault, M. J. (2016). Embracing geek culture in undergraduate library instruction: The TIL subreddit for resource evaluation and qualitative assessment. Reference Librarian, 57(3), 205–212. https://doi.org/10.1080/02763877.2015.1132182

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