Friday, December 3, 2010

Reddit and Our Decentralized Media Channels

The media is not what it used to be.  There are so many channels of information that we have access to today that there's no possible way to intake and process it all.  With cable, books, movies, video games, magazines, the internet, our phones, newspapers, cable, satellite TV, and more where do we turn for entertainment and information?  Well, if you're in your twenties or younger the answer is the internet.

But even if we narrow down our media channels to only the internet there is still an overload of content at our fingertips.  Even if we say that we only want to talk about the news of the day the question remains, "Where should we turn?"  Almost every cable news network has a site, as well as every paper, local station, special interest, and political leaning.

I've given up on keeping track of current events, and I'm sad to say that many of my generation have.  With untold amounts of data generated every day there needs to be a way to sort the worthwhile from the trash.  Opinion presented as fact is getting out of hand in the mainstream media and I'm tired of fluff pieces on "news" sites that seem like they should be in Cosmo or on instead.

The lines between news and entertainment in the United States are blurring more each day.  When comedians like John Stewart and Stephen Colbert have more to say about events of the day than we can find in the "real" news then there is a problem with our current system.

 Colbert recently became a redditor himself.

This is why I've turned to social link sites to keep myself informed instead of relying on the mainstream media.  There are a few main sites out there, but Reddit is my favorite by far.  Basically people submit links, images, videos, forum posts, and comments to Reddit and other users get to vote them up or down.  This allows for the most popular content to rise to the top and the junk content to stay out of most users sight.  All quality content, no matter what type of content, ends up on the front page.

Not all of the content is news, but when a news story reaches the front page I know it's worth taking the time to read.  Instead of hunting through an entire paper or website for the one big event of the day that's actually worth reading, I can browse reddit for entertainment and let the quality news stories come to me.

That's without even mentioning sub-reddits.  Sub-reddits are groups of content within overall site.  Interested in gaming (probably if you read this blog) then check out the gaming sub-reddit.  How about a particular game like StarCraft 2, Call of Duty, or World of Warcraft?  They have their own sub-reddits too.  Sub-reddit topics range from politics, to humor, to technology, and sex.  If you take a look at the sub-reddits page I know you'll find something that appeals to you.

I don't know what the future of the media will look like, but there is a definite shift happening.  For the moment Reddit points me towards interesting media around the internet, but who knows where I'll be turning for information in 5 years.  Our media consumption is constantly changing with the emergence of social media and constant access to the internet through mobile devices.  One thing is for sure, the mainstream media becomes less relevant every day.

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