I came across this TEDx talk, “How to Make a Splash in Social Media” after I watched another Alexis Ohanian at Oxford video featuring the Reddit co-founder. His 2016 talk at Oxford Union highlights the agnostic (unknowable) quality of the Internet. Anyone, with any content, can go viral online. It’s hard to predict.
There are many memorable points that Ohanian makes, including this:
What we’ve seen in social media the last ten years [2006-2016] has been the cocktail party. It has been the most superficial level of connection. Now, it’s something we need. I don’t say that derisively. We like cocktail parties. As humans we like showing people how cute our pets are, how wonderful our life is. That’s a level of connection that doesn’t go very deep. What we are seeing on platforms like Reddit, Snapchat, is a hunger for the next wave—a demand for authenticity…something that feels more real, that’s not there because of wanting to show a filtered version of yourself, but wanting to show how you really are in that moment.
Ohanian was a history major at the University of Virginia who saw the connectivity value of the Internet early on. His first business idea with his UVA computer science major friend, Steve Huffman (My Mobile Menu or “MMM”) failed to get funding but then they began to think about what web pages they went to every morning and Reddit was born. Btw, Ohanian is a bit more famous these days for being the spouse of a particularly talented tennis player.
Reddit is a social news website supported by a community of users called Redditors who have only one thing in common, shared interests with other Redditors. Reddit’s subreddit on The Donald helps Trump keep support in the White House. Durinf the 2016 presidential campaign, Reddit served as an alternative source of news for Redditors enthusiastic about Trump’s candidacy, including those who were lining up for hours to hear Trump speak in person. I went to Trump’s subreddit community threat regularly and it convinced me that Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton.