Oh, Reddit, what are you not useful for? Although it is true that Reddit sometimes gets a bad rap for being overpopulated with neckbeards, nerdy know-it-alls, and borderline incel level angsty teens, it is hard to argue with the fact that, at least in theory, Reddit’s thousands of communities do come in handy. No matter what you are interested – no matter how niche, obscure, or bizarre that interest may be – there is a 99% chance that a subreddit exists on which you can nerd out about it with other likeminded people. Say what you will about Reddit, it is, without a doubt, an extremely underappreciated resource of information, news, and interesting online social dynamics.
It’s a bit of a shame, when you think about it, that Reddit has developed the somewhat off-putting reputation that it has. Essentially, it is a brilliant idea. It is an entirely democratic quasi-social network that thrives on a system of up and downvotes, which creates an intrinsic function of mitigating the infinite slush pile of incorrect, misleading, and subpar content that exists on the internet. By empowering users with the ability to upvote something to the site’s self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ or downvoting it, as the kids say on Reddit, into oblivion, at its best Reddit is a powerful tool of curating the best of the best when it comes to online content.
Plus, by virtue of Reddit’s hyper-specialized communities, it allows people to delve deeper into subjects than almost any other social media platform in existence. If you love, say, Leonardo DiCaprio (and, uh, who doesn’t?), there is a community of hundreds of thousands of other Leo fanatics waiting to discuss everything in the DiCaprio sphere. Any news, rumors, theories, speculations, biographical information, etc. on the actor can easily be found and added on in seconds. And, let’s face it, it never hurts to have an outlet through which you can connect with people who share your interests around the world, any time of day, any day of the year.
So, maybe it’s about time we looked past Reddit’s reputation once and for all and gave it a chance. It can be a very useful tool, especially for serious film buffs like you and me. If you thought Reddit was impressive for its extremely specific and niche subreddits, you should see how active and entertaining it can be to lurk on some of the more general subreddits, such as r/Movies.
With more than 22 million individual members (and often 25 thousand or so of those members online at any one given time), r/Movies is one of the most active online communities concerning the latest in film news, discussions, and upcoming announcements (if not the most active). There is literally no more frequently updated source on all things pertaining to film, be it Hollywood or indie, than r/movies.
Reddit was initially conceived of by two college roommates – Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian – in 2005. After attending a lecture by the famous programmer Paul Graham at the University of Virginia, Huffman and Ohanian spoke with Graham, who was apparently rather impressed with their drive and knowledge, and Graham invited them to apply to his incubator for startups, Y Combinator.
Their initial idea, My Mobile Menu proved to be unsuccessful (it would have allowed users to order food via SMS text messaging). However, during a subsequent brainstorming session, Graham pitched his idea for a site that could serve as “the front page of the internet.” Thanks to an initial round of funding provided by Y Combinator, Huffman and Ohanian were able to get to work on what would eventually be Reddit. The site launched in June of 2005.
Shortly thereafter, upon expanding and adding on additional key players in the running and development of the site, Huffman and Ohanian sold Reddit to the Conde Nast Media Group (owner of Wired magazine) on October 26th, 2016 for a reported sum of money somewhere between the tunes of $10 million and $20 million.
In 2009, Reddit finally started becoming remarkably profitable. Through the introduction of advertising, Reddit became one of the biggest players in the dot-com space. And today it is one of the most frequented sites on the internet, with a total valuation of $1.8 billion.
Honestly, Reddit’s design took some getting used to for me. When I first visited the site (which was, admittedly, a good decade ago), I did not find it to be the most intuitive interface that I’d ever seen. This is partial, I think because the whole concept of Reddit was so unique and novel at the time – the notion of threads, then, was still foreign to me. However, I stuck with it and it did not take long at all for Reddit’s elegantly logical layout to reveal itself to me.
At the top of the Reddit home page, you will see several somewhat cryptic icons. These are going to be your tools for sorting Reddit’s content the way that you prefer. Reddit offers three main viewing styles: large cards that display images well, “classic mode” that requires you to click into a post to see additional content, and “compact,” which more closely resembles a classic message board layout.
As far as sorting is concerned, choose between “Best” posts, Hot, New, Top, and Rising. Once this toolbox has been decoded, Reddit becomes extremely user-friendly and customizable (even enjoy dark mode if you prefer). You will also find a dropdown menu that allows for convenient browsing of popular subreddits and those that you visit most frequently.
Reddit is composed of hundreds of thousands of individual subreddits. In order to get the most out of Reddit, you’ll need to join those that interest you. Once you join r/Movies, however, you will find that it is an invaluable source of news and discussions surrounding major motion pictures.
The actual content that you will find on r/Movies, though, depends entirely on the whims of the community at a given time. Whatever the film buffs of Reddit want to talk about (and share) is what you will see. There is, however, a rich catalog of archived posts to be perused when the current conversations are not catching your interest. But the majority of posts pertain to either film news, awards ceremonies, film studio news, actor news, discussion threads of new releases and big events, and just general discussion and debate on everything related to film.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
Personally, I find that I prefer to browse Reddit on my phone. Reddit has a pretty decent mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. In fact, the app is constantly being improved based on suggestions that users voice on the subreddit devoted specifically to the app. That is how an app should be optimized if you ask me. There are alternative ways, too, to enjoy Reddit via other apps, such as Beam, Glance, Alien Blue, and Nano for Reddit. If you find that you are frustrated with any of the official Reddit app’s features, feel free to check out any of these Reddit-compatible apps.
I could scroll the official Reddit app on my phone for hours, though, and, come to think of it, I do so quite frequently. It’s like a never-ending social media feed without the annoyance of people’s curated social media identities obscuring the actual content. It helps that Reddit is anonymous. If ever I am bored, I just scroll my personalized Reddit feed for all the latest in all of my favorite topics, either on my phone or on the computer.
Pricing and Plans
Reddit is a completely free service to use at the basic level. There is no need to pay for Reddit; unless, of course, you want a VIP experience. For that, you can feel free to check out Reddit Premium. For only $5.99 a month, Reddit Premium offers an ads-free Reddit experience, as well as 700 coins each month (and a 1,000 coin sign up gift). Coins, then, can be used to further incentivize particularly good, interesting, funny, or diligent posts/comments by awarding them to their authors – just in case someone has something so good to say that a simple upvote does not suffice.
Suggestions that I have for r/Movies
r/Movies is a great resource for all things film news and discussion. I think that the subreddit is intelligently structured and all of its rules seem fair to me (for instance, no posting about movies that were released prior to 1960 … there is a separate sub for classic films). This is a robust and usually civil subreddit with a ton of activity, and the majority of its users take it seriously (which is refreshing for Reddit). So, all of this is to say that I don’t really have any suggestions.