How the Newly Independent Reddit Sees Its Mission

By Alexis C. Madrigal

When I worked for Wired.com, I sat about 50 feet from the Reddit guys and I'm friendly with co-founder Alexis Ohanian because we are both men named Alexis. Their offices were a drywalled-in corner of Wired.com's half of the Wired floor of an old brick warehouse in San Francisco. It was clear that our corporate overlords were not sure what to do with this strange site run by a tiny team of nerds. It was not the most freewheeling startup situation, but Reddit grew anyway, especially after Digg lost its dominance in the social news space.


While Conde Nast struggled to build "community" on most of their content properties, it just seemed to grow on effing trees at Reddit. Herds of rabid users roamed the Great Reddit plains. They proved difficult to monetize, though, and Conde's parent company, Advance Publications has halfway spun the company out, as Reddit's Erik Martin explains. 

I'm happy for the Reddit guys mostly because now they can pursue their mission, which is as lofty as it is good.

The reddit team, our Board, our informal advisors, and many in the reddit community sincerely believe that reddit has the potential, over the next generation, to positively impact journalism, civic engagement, fundraising, product development, and learning.
Journalism, civic engagement, fundraising, product development, and learning! That's going way beyond "pageviews," which is what I think most content companies are thinking about. The people who make Reddit -- and to a lesser extent, the people who use it -- believe they are building something fundamentally new and significant in the world. No wonder they have an easier time creating rabid users than your average magazine.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/09/how-the-newly-independent-reddit-sees-its-mission/244625/