How does the front page of the Internet behave? Readability, emoticon use, and links on Reddit

Andrew Tsou


Reddit, known as “the front page of the Internet,” has been one of the most widely visited Web sites since its inception in 2005. As a social networking site it is unique in that the personal relationships between its users are considered secondary to its content, which includes both original, user-generated content and links to outside sources. Although previous research has investigated other social networking platforms in depth, relatively little has been written on Reddit. The present research considers a variety of indicators, including text readability, emoticon usage, and domain linkage. It was found that the most popular communities on Reddit behave very differently from each other, in terms of language sophistication, sentiment, and topicality (as measured by top-level links to outside sources). The results can be used to inform future investigations of online discourse spaces, particularly those in the contemporary social media sphere.


Reddit; social media; cmc; computer-mediated communication

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