Recently I have been spending more time on user-input sites like Reddit and Imgur; It was Imgur that inspired me to create this blog after giving me the inspiration to write. By no means am I a writer nor have I ever aspired to gain views and upvotes on my opinions or stories. The pleasure of having someone approve of my work had disappeared while I was still in school, but online communities brings out this desire in many. How many people do you think are right now checking to see how much karma their comment received?
This is what it means to put yourself out there in the online world. Facebook began this incredible idea that people want to hear your thoughts, of giving likes depending on how relatable or inventive opinions are. Twitter, Instagram etc all thrive on getting followers and likes for this kind of approval. Largely post frequency, regardless the content (your mother’s spag bol) gets the rewarding appoval but there are some who use these platforms to display their innate creativity, think Bo Burnham on Vine and Youtube.
These internet communities have changed (and improved) over the years. 4chan as an online forum attracted many different types of people, the timid looking for advice to those who preferred a more chaotic pastime. Bullying, organized trolling and the works highlighted 4chan’s /B/ forum. Here, the input gave the satisfaction, knowing you have contributed via a comment or image surely gave someone a chuckle. With Reddit and and Imgur there is a race to the front page, through being the quickest to post a big story, reposting old favorites and through original content which typically comes in the form of meta mocking the lack of original content.
These platforms are for the up-and-comer and those trying to take their first steps towards releasing their creativity to the world. There is no looming shadow of the largest Youtube channels, there is a sense that if you have good content you can attract like-minded people who will reward you with support through upvotes and positive comments. Imgur was where I took my first step and I’m sure it was the same for many others looking for release in the way of creativity. This is the true value of these online communities, they are just that: a collection of like-minded individuals who want to support because they too want support. Everyone needs release, whether it is from their creative side or release from the horrors of the day. This is community, you, me, everyone, are one.