Every morning, pretty much as soon as I wake up, I want to see what’s happened in the world during the (ideally eight, but likely closer to five) hours since I was last awake. Like so many other members of the screen–addicted Gen Z, I turn to my cell phone. But instead of tapping on the blue bird of Twitter, or the rainbow newsstand of an aggregator like Google News, I’ve found myself turning to the orange and white alien icon of Reddit. 

Yes; Reddit, the social platform commonly associated with seedy incel forums and perhaps–too–edgy memes, has become my go–to for keeping up with the topics I care about, mostly sports and entertainment. Even though I keep other sources for more serious topics, like politics, Reddit is my default to see what’s going on in the worlds I care about, plus what the average commenter is thinking and saying. 

And as it turns out, I'm not alone in this viewpoint; the majority of other Redditors use the platform for a similar purpose. Despite Reddit not being as widely–used as other social media platforms and having a somewhat negative reputation among the general population, those of us who are on the site regularly know and love it. 

Frankly, there are topics plenty of topics I don’t follow, and others where I don’t care what random people on the internet are saying about them. No one can or should care about everything. The positive of Reddit is that one can choose how siloed one wants their content to be. Sure, there’s a popular page—featuring the most upvoted content from around the site—and a feed just featuring daily news. 

But the main feed consists mostly of content from subreddits dedicated to topics of your choosing. Therefore, it’s possible to see only posts relating to the types of things you want to see, like sports and entertainment. And additionally, this siloing of interests can keep you away from the shady forums that the world at large often associates with Reddit. 

Compare this to Twitter, where people often pontificate on anything on their mind,  all of the time. Or consider aggregation sites like Apple News or Google News, where everything is chosen by a faceless, opaque algorithm. Reddit just feels so much more simple and human–curated. On Reddit, the choice of what to see is yours, and not what some computer code thinks can maximize your time on the platform, often through encouraging negative emotions like anger

Beyond just seeing posts about your preferred topics, Reddit’s comment structure also simplifies much of the discourse. The main point of Reddit—at least for me—is to see people’s comments on and reactions to a question or take posed in a post. And this goes beyond just seeing the comments others found most helpful first via an upvote and downvote scheme, where the most popular comments float to the top; the site’s unique flair system is also a standout feature. Users can add a symbol, word, or phrase that appears next to their username and gives additional context. On a site where just about everyone is anonymous, the information provided by a flair is often crucial; it expands a user from just a floating username to a floating username with a contextualized personality.

The huge benefit of the flairs is that it allows people to see the biases inherent in someone’s viewpoint, not exactly something a site like Twitter is good at doing. For example, on r/CFB—a subreddit devoted to college football—my flairs are currently Penn and Pac–10 (the conference representing the region I come from and whose games I grew up watching). Whenever I comment or post something, people can see a specific perspective and where it comes from. So whenever I see Texas and Oklahoma fans getting into it over anything, I know to let it be. 

Lastly, Reddit seemingly has a remarkable staying power, with the site itself having been around since 2005. This makes it the same age as YouTube and one year older than Twitter. Now, Twitter is embroiled in controversy keeping users and advertisers, and YouTube is changing its entire platform to be more oriented around short–form video. But Reddit is still thriving, and has maintained the same indie ethos it had when it first debuted. 

But what is even more impressive than the overall site’s age is that many communities that you would expect to have fallen out of favor—and are dedicated to topics that aren’t much in the mainstream online discourse—are still going strong. For example, r/TheWire, which is dedicated to a show which ended 15 years ago, still has 115,000 members and a dozen posts from the last 24 hours. 

None of this is to say that Reddit is perfect, because it isn’t. Cyberbullying is present, and can run rampant in some communities, made all the more possible by the anonymity of most users and the prevalence of burner accounts. Beyond that, community moderators—who are pretty much all volunteers—are flawed and there’s no escaping off–topic content (even though there’s a subreddit for that: r/lostredditors). But for me, this doesn’t outweigh the self–curated benefits that the site has brings or the ability to easily identify and move beyond another users personal biases. 

So throughout the rest of today, and when I get up tomorrow, I’m going to keep checking Reddit in order to keep track of what’s going on in my little corner of the internet.