The Reddit community is a very special place. It’s a place where your biggest dreams can come true. On the other hand, it can be a place where your heart can be ripped out. It’s a place where you can share something that you find amazing and it will be upvoted and loved by everyone. Or you can share something that someone might find trivial and it will be downvoted and despised by the whole community.
On the surface, Reddit is like any other social media network. It’s a place where you can connect with people that share your interests. However, if you dig a little deeper you’ll discover that there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.
Reddit started as a place just for fun. Its co-founder Alexis Ohbello wanted to create a more social experience. Back in the day, the site wasn’t even monetized. It was always intended to be a place that people could come together to share their interests.
Then, in October of 2016, Reddit decided to make some major changes. Since its inception, Reddit had always been a place that people found value in. Back then, the site didn’t have thousands of subscribers. It didn’t have millions of views or attract billions of dollars in venture capital. So, the staff at Reddit decided it was time for a makeover. One that would turn the site into a place that everyone could feel comfortable visiting and contributing to.
The goal was to update the site’s aesthetic and functional design. To provide a better overall user experience. In line with these goals, Reddit overhauled its blog platform. Making it more of a focus and less of an afterthought. As a result, the blog post format was changed from being a simple list to a more polished and engaging article.
Why would they do this? Because they believe that a blog post should be an attention-grabbing piece of content that is both informative and entertaining. One that will compel visitors to share it with others. To achieve this, the content needs to be engaging, concise, and most importantly, it needs to fit the blog format.
This change was pretty dramatic, especially since most blogs post regularly and prefer to keep things simple and to the point. So, it was clear that something had shifted at Reddit. And it wasn’t just the blog platform. When you visit the site today, you’ll notice that there’s a lot more going on than just links and funny memes.
More Than Memes
When you log in to Reddit today, you’re greeted with an awesome, animated GIF of a cat. It’s funny and it fits perfectly with the site’s vibe.
However, if you go back just a few months you’ll discover that the GIF wasn’t always there.
In fact, when you visit the site back in October of 2016, you’ll notice that the front page is a combination of old and new. There are still tons of amazing, funny memes and interesting stories. But, lurking beneath the surface are some major changes.
The Rise Of The CommentSection
If you notice, Reddit hasn’t always been about memes and cat GIFs. One of the site’s most popular sections is /r/funny. With over 500,000 subscribers, it’s the place where jokes and memes rule. However, buried within that section you’ll find a whole other story. One about an incredible amount of engagement.
If you visit /r/funny on Reddit today, you’ll see a whole different site. One that is constantly expanding and changing. However, if you browse through /r/funny from October 2016, you’ll notice a completely different story.
Back then, /r/funny was much more of a “community” section. Where people would come together to share funny memes and discuss the latest trends. In addition to this, the community would suggest and upvote posts that they believed were funny or worth discussing.
Since then, /r/funny has changed significantly. The most significant change occurred in May of 2018. When Reddit added the ability for commenters to upvote and downvote posts. Suddenly, the entire section changed. Instead of just having a nice, relaxing place to find memes, /r/funny started becoming a place where people could fight over the latest memes and discuss politics as well.
The Death Of Top Posts
Another big change that happened in October of 2016 was the death of top posts. At the time, all of the site’s most popular posts were displayed at the top of the page. This is a holdover from when Reddit didn’t have many subscribers and everyone wanted to keep track of what was popular around the web.
However, as the site grew, this became problematic. When there were thousands of posts, it was hard to keep track of what was popular. So, the top post section was dropped. In its place, Reddit implemented a more chronological feed. One that surfaces more recent posts first.
The result was that the entire top post section was eliminated. Which, in turn, caused a massive shift in the way that Redditors consume content.
The Rise Of News
The news section of Reddit is one of the site’s more interesting subdivisions. Not because of what happens there. But because of the way that it started. In late 2016, the news section was completely empty. However, in October of that year, a new section was introduced called “Breaking News.”
The news section was originally meant to be a place where users could discuss major news stories. However, over the years it’s really turned into its own entity. Where breaking news stories dominate (along with a healthy dose of cat memes).
A More Entertaining UserExperience
Something else that Reddit changed in 2016 was the way that content is displayed. Back in the day, when you visited the site, all of the content would be displayed in list form. Which was both functional and easy to understand. However, nowadays, Redditors love their content to be displayed in an engaging and entertaining manner. Which is why they’ve shifted towards using slideshows for blog posts and using more visual aids. Like infographics and GIFs.
The Importance Of The Title
The biggest change that Reddit made in 2016 wasn’t the format of their blog posts or the way that content is displayed. It was the title of each blog post.
When you visit the site today, you’ll notice that the titles are much more interesting. And importantly, they adhere to a much tighter set of rules. A lot of which were introduced in 2016.
Each blog post needs to have a clear objective. One that the article or the title will drive toward. To do this, the post needs to be concise and to the point. But, it also needs to include a few key words that, when searched, will lead to the article. Ideally, the article will also fit within the constraints of the blog post’s medium.
For example, if your blog post is about fashion, you might want to incorporate a few fashion-related keywords into the title. Like “fashion” or “style”. Or if it’s a marketing piece, you could include keywords like “marketing” or “brand identity”.
As you can see, the title is very important. Especially since the entire piece is curated around a specific theme. The more you put into your title, the more you’ll get out of it. It’s always a good idea to brainstorm blog post titles early on in the writing process. So, that you have enough time to flesh out the perfect piece.
To conclude, let’s take a trip back in time to revisit one of the most significant changes that Reddit made in 2016.
That change was the death of Top Posts. When all of the site’s most popular posts were displayed at the top of the page, it was an easy way for users to keep track of what was popular around the web. When /r/funny became its own entity and started deciding what was and wasn’t worth discussing, all of the posts under that topic became irrelevant. They started drowning in a sea of competing posts.
However, over the past few months, the conversation section has started to see a resurgence. As people have realized the value that it provides. Especially in today’s social media landscape.