Reddit, the self-labeled “front page of the Internet,” is many things. It is an aggregate news source, an anonymous forum with user-generated content and, at times, a dark recess of Internet folklore.
The site is made up of interest-specific groups called subreddits. There are more than 67,000 of these groups, and ASU has its own subreddit, r/ASU.
Guillaume Azurdia, 24, graduated from ASU with a degree in engineering in 2012. Azurdia has been a moderator of ASU’s subreddit since 2011, when it only had 80 subscribers.
Now, r/ASU has more than 1,500 subscribers, ranging from prospective and current students to alumni who are interested in what is going on at their alma mater.
ASU’s site sees around 7,000 unique visitors a month.
“I believe having an unbiased, self-moderating community has helped ASU students immensely,” Azurdia said. “Being able to discuss issues without fear of repercussion by the University and being able to ask honest questions to a community of students who will give you an honest answer helps everyone.”
As Reddit becomes more popular, r/ASU will continue to meet the needs of the community, he said.
“I see it becoming more organized and perhaps becoming a bigger part of organizing and supporting student issues on campus,” Azurdia said. “Some of my favorite experiences have been when groups of subscribers have organized themselves and become very vocal about issues, such as the smoking ban on campus and ASU’s IT department’s block of change.org.”
The recent community-enforced smoking ban is slated to go into effect fall 2013, and the Internet petition platform change.org was blocked on ASU Internet networks after being labeled a platform for email spamming.
Ruben Favaro, a physics graduate student, is on Reddit two to three hours a day.
“I get my information about ASU mainly from school outlets, so I’m only on Reddit for just my interests.” Favaro said. “I think ASU is too big to organize into one subreddit, but it would be useful if there were subreddits broken down by the specific colleges at ASU.”
ASU’s site is a large, open forum of questions being asked and answered by other students. However, there is the occasional snippet of gossip or an amusing anecdote from around campus, which could gain popularity after receiving enough “upvotes” to move it higher up on the bulletin-board style webpage.
The number of subscribers to r/ASU has risen by nearly 1,800 percent in two years.
Public service and policy freshman Carl Ott voiced similar hopes for the subreddit, citing the general lack of public awareness as something that keeps it from becoming a more prominent resource for students.
“I’d like to see it create a closer-knit community on campus, with common goals and ideals for the student body,” he said.
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