Like Digg, Reddit is essentially a social recommendation tool for online news stories. Registered users add a story and other users then give it an up or down vote, moving it towards the top or bottom of the day’s stories. Also like Digg, the top of the list is usually dominated by technology stories but, increasingly, politics, big international news stories, and the occasional “wierd world” piece gets in there too. (Have a look at popurls, a site that aggregates lots of different bookmarking, recommendation and social media sites if you want to compare the results of these services yourself.) I guess the increasing number of non-tech stories, or more correctly decreasing dominance of them, means these sites are – thankfully – becoming more and more mainstream.
It will be interesting to see this acquisition affects the talks that, reportedly, were recently underway between Digg and a number of possible suitors, including News Corp. Personally, I think that deal was a better fit than Conde Nast’s pairing with Reddit. It’s obvious that News Corp could make use of Digg’s recommendation engine, particularly as it helps capture the zeitgeist of the moment in a way that News Corp could instantly make useful in their audience research, news broadcasts and newspaper titles.
Most Conde Nast titles, on the other hand, just don’t deal with the type of content that would find it’s way into Reddit, at least not at with Reddit’s existing userbase and implimentation. Ok, so Wired might make good use of it, but how many readers of Details, House and Garden, or Bride are really going to want to recommend an article and/or vote it up or down the list of stories? It’s not the type of content that gets the blood stirring.
And that’s the thing I think a lot of people miss in the world of social media – people aren’t going to heed a call to action unless that call for action takes advantage of excitement, fear, love, hatred, joy or some other “get up and shout about it” emotion. Let’s not forget, Reddit’s not the first of the social bookmarking / social recommendation sites to get bought up – yahoo purchased del.icio.us back in December 2005 and, other than adding del.icio.us links to pages on yahoo stablemate flickr they haven’t quite figured out what to do with the service.
Everyone, it seems, needs to own a piece of Web 2.0…