Democracy is flawed, but you have the ability to exploit those flaws.
Joshua D. responded to yesterday’s ‘Facebook vs. Reddit‘ with a poignant thought:
What do you think about Reddit’s inherent bias? The trend that certain viewpoints are ignored or suppressed because they’re not the majority?
He referenced a short explanatory video describing ‘The Reddit Filter‘ which states that “often what becomes the majority opinion is entirely arbitrary based on who votes first” because “people are afraid to vote against the majority.”
Joshua’s notions aren’t unfounded, they’re backed by mountains of data from various sources. Voting systems might be democratic, but it doesn’t mean they work.
People follow the hive assuming everyone else is sincere.
This phenomena isn’t exclusive to democratic social platforms like Reddit — it’s simply human nature. As described by Idea Channel’s Mike Rugnetta:
Outside of a few mediators, there is no undeposable ruling class — the people are in control and everyone is capable of making it. In internet terms, users and content are all equal. Each user is capable of posting and having their post succeed. Each user’s votes counts equally.
In government this means citizens have equal rights, each citizen is equal before the law, is equally capable of political action, and each citizen’s vote counts equally.
Unfortunately… not everyone is equal in the eyes of the law or in government.
The same flaws that plague democratic governments are prevlant on Reddit. The playing field starts level, but it gets bumpy. People can trade and bestow influence.
Since after an amount of time net votes are displayed next to every post you can get a sense of how your peers are reacting. It’s been shown that seeing upvotes before the content being upvoted can result in a 25% to 32% increase in the likelihood of additional upvotes.
The rich get richer and the upvoted get upvoted-ier.
Candidates for popular Reddit posts are ones that inspiring easy reactions, that create the most clear and distinct feel — ideally positive. A very successful Reddit post is one that is easy to understand and aligns with the expectations of the audience… kind of like in government.
In other words, because people know what appeals to the user base, users will consider only things that will most likely appeal to the user base as candidates for posting. This seems mostly harmless, but when provocative content becomes the most likely to be rewarded in certain communities it fosters more provocative content and tromps content outside of the norm (for that community).
The market doesn’t decide — we, as consumers, drive the market.
While some, more clearly understood, content will have a greater chance of seeing success on Reddit — you have the power to make any content more understandable and thus give it a greater chance of success. Knowing that the initial votes provide social proof that increases the likelihood of future upvotes, you can better ensure success by researching the best times to post and engaging in early comments.
For this reason, when you learn to leverage the democracy of Reddit — a system governed by the inherently predictive nature of human beings — you learn how to leverage the democracy of human nature… on any platform, digital or analog.
When you learn Reddit, you amplify all of your abilities for communication.
What’s the one thing stopping you from diving in head first?