Exploring Reddit and Pinterest to find social media with creativity and intelligence
The last few months, I have been spending most of my free time on the Internet. While this isn’t exactly a strange phenomenon, considering how inseparable my laptop and I are, there are two things in particular I am addicted to.
Of the two areas of the Internet that have sparked my interest lately, one is one of the newest social media hubs, and the other is one of the largest and most well known Internet communities on the Internet.
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The first is Reddit, founded in 2005. Reddit is a user-driven community, where users submit links, ask questions, share photos etc. It’s where anything and everything is discussed and shared with what seems to be millions of users.
While it’s difficult to explain, Reddit has developed its own community of users where there are certain unspoken rules and customs that appear out of nowhere.
It’s ruthless and unforgiving in some respects; it is certainly left-leaning and almost libertarian in its political views.
Every topic appearing has a home in the various “reddits” and “subreddits” designed to keep users on a specific topic. Reddit even has a system of keeping track of users contributions to the community in what as known as “karma,” a score based on positive reviews of submissions and comments.
While Reddit is unknown to a majority of Internet users, some of its more popular ideas, memes, are starting to make their way into the mainstream.
To the chagrin of most of Reddit’s more hardcore users, memes have been making their way onto Facebook and other more mainstream Internet hubs.
Its effects were also felt politically in recent months; Reddit was one of the largest websites to organize and participate in the Internet blackout on Jan. 18, 2012.
This blackout helped put an end to legislation known as SOPA and PIPA, which threatened to censor and infringe on what Reddit users saw as the freedom of the Internet.
The second website I have been spending plenty of time on recently is another user-driven social network known as Pinterest. It’s a simple concept; users pin images found all over the Internet and within the Pinterest community to boards, which are then shared publicly with all other users.
There is no notion of privacy; instead everything users pin are publicly shared on their page. Everything is pinnable in theory, home improvements, photos, weddings ideas, funny photos, cute animals, recipes, etc. It can be broken down to be a place to bookmark and organize ideas you would like to revisit later.
However, both websites have one thing in common for me; they’re a creative space. I have never encountered such creativity and ingenuity in life as I have in these two websites.
Whether it be through humor, interesting arguments on a topic I feel strongly about or brilliant artwork, I have never found myself so inspired to make, share (or even duplicate) ideas I come across on either website.
On Reddit, I have found news stories I want to share with others, ways to share my nerdiness with others, products I want to purchase, and crazy ways of looking at things that I’d never considered.
Heck, I even encountered a couple of nerdy marriage proposals that I thought about utilizing when the time came.
For me, it has become a community of relatively like-minded people who exchange ideas relating to what interests them, such as politics, videogames, or entertainment.
When it comes to Pinterest, I came across photographs I’d like to replicate on my own, pieces of art I’d like to try and create and cute puppies I might want to own one day. Through Pinterest I’ve saved ideas for my future wedding, pieces of furniture I might want to own one day, and a multitude of other interesting things that reflect my life.
I can share with other users my experiences with certain products, my love of certain musical acts, or any other number of things.
My venture into Reddit and Pinterest may be a reflection of my deep seeded love of the Internet, but I’m hoping the popularity of these two websites will usher in a large-scale change in the way the Internet works.
While Facebook and Twitter seem to be the kings of social media, they are not necessarily a place for adept political, creative, ethical, or any other kind of discussion.
Neither seems to foster creativity or intelligence. Instead, I hope that the Internet moves in the opposite direction, where creativity and intelligence are fostered and appreciated, not lost in the pettiness that seems to consume Facebook and Twitter.
Chelsea Mellin can be contacted at