Reddit Users Support Virginia TechPosted: December 11, 2011
The unfortunate incident at Virginia Tech on Thursday afternoon broke the little confidence students had after the previous campus shooting in 2007. The American and International support via media coverage and social networking sites was overwhelming. However, the Reddit community really embraced the victims of this tragedy in a more personally touching way. Not only were several news based stories upvoted to the front page within hours, in addition to “keeping VT in our thoughts” posts and comments, but they users were able to personally communicate with and comfort a victim.
As I have mentioned previously, the Reddit community is very close, sharing similar perspectives, humor, and ideas. They communicate more and have more personal tendencies than other social news sites. Subreddit category r/AMA illustrates this well. AMA, or IAMA, stands for “ask me anything.” A member will often share a fact or personal experience unique to them and their life and welcome other users to ask them questions. The original poster will answer any questions he or she may have, which encourages dialogue through comments.
On Thursday, after the VT shooting, a student posted “AMA Virginia Tech Student currently locked in his room.” He included many pictures in his post for people to explore. Users asked him many questions and conversed about the tragic happenings that had just occurred in real time, which I found really interesting. However, in addition to this, they also comforted the student. One user informs the student that finals are cancelled and they proceed to joke about that fact. Others give him ironically funny advice to cheer him up. This, in effect, exemplified a symbiotically beneficial relationship I had not previously seen on Reddit. This really piqued my interest and demonstrated an entirely new way to use Reddit and other social news sites.