Perhaps the most interesting thing about Reddit is how far it and similar sites are from the democratic online utopias envisioned in the Nineties. The internet resembles the work of JG Ballard more than it does Mark Zuckerberg’s “global community”. The challenge for democrats will be to cope with this technological expansion. The aim must be to ensure that the internet is more than just an echo chamber for the worst of humanity, as found in the darkest corners of Reddit.
Christine Lagorio-Chafkin, a writer for Inc. magazine, tells the Reddit story in “We Are the Nerds.” The two co-founders, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, cooperated extensively. I admire them for doing so because despite Lagorio-Chafkin’s best efforts — Ohanian is called “charismatic” or celebrated for his “charisma” on Pages 47, 158, 214, 223 and 330 — they come off as whiny and callow schemers, and not the sharpest of sticks. On the very first page, the two University of Virginia seniors cannot figure out what a “kiosk” is.