Doing More With Less… Reddit

The last of my blog posts on the patterns of web 2.0 will focus on the idea of doing more with less or more concisely using lightweight models & cost-effective scalability in order to build a scalable, cost-effective strategy encompassing business models, development models, and technology to deliver products to market faster and cheaper without sacrificing future growth (Watson, 2011). Web 2.0 has enabled this new trend in online business by offering a number of facets:

  • The decreasing price of hardware, bandwidth, and software
  • Open source, easy to access software
  • Companies have learnt from the dot com bust in the late 90s
  • The success of word of mouth and the viral marketing in todays online world
  • Agile development models (Google Offers Example)
One example of a company who has followed this approach in order to build a successful business for its self is Reddit:

Reddit is a social news website that was launched back in 2005, the main function of the website is to allow users (know as redditors, on the site)  to submit links to content they have found on the web, these can range from virtually anything, users are also able to submit posts that contain their own thoughts and opinions. The rest of the Reddit online community is then able to vote the posts up or down with the most successful links gaining prominence by reaching the front page. Reddit also attempts to organise the topics of the posts by placing them into communities (called subreddits on the site) – Although to date there are over 67,000 communities  to view, which just seems a tad excessive in my opinion.

Reddit wasn’t the first web site to create this social news phenomenon, but it has been successfully in steadily increasing its user base. One of its rivals Digg has recently seen the number of visitors to its site drop, with many users of Digg moving over to the rival Reddit. Why is this? Many believe its due to Digg’s change in online software, which turned many users away – further proving how importnat it is to get online web applications right, even if they are free.

Site Visits To Reddit & its biggest competitor Digg

In the early part of this year, the former co-founder of Reddit – Alexis Ohanian wrote a blog post discussing why he believes Reddit has become so successful. Redit now attracts over 1 million page views a month and is currently listed as a top 100 website. According to Alexis Ohanian the success of Reddit is down to three things:

  1. The Software: Reddit’s commenters operate in a system that quickly promotes the good and hides the bad… making the news stream extremely efficient.
  2. Enpowered Users: News thats curated by the readers, not editors… sounds very web 2.0 right?!
  3. Nurtured community: Listening to its users.
Its no coincidence then that Reddit also seems to compare favourably to Tim O’Reillys web 2.0 pattern definition – lightweight models & cost-effective scalability. Below are some other facets of the pattern that i believe increases Reddit’s success.
  • Scale Pricing & Revenue Models: Reddit has a number of membership models ranging from the free account to a month subscription based appraoch. While the site also sells advertising opportunities like many other web 2.0 ventures.
  • Scales fast: Despite becoming a top 100 website and buying up more storage space, Reddit still only employees 4 engineers to maintain its 48TB of disk memory and 44.4 trillion bytes of data.

How does the future look for Reddit? Reddit’s ability to be agile and be cost effective in scaling has lead it to be successful and while its competitors are laying workers off, Reddit continues to grow and will do for the foreseeable future – although how it will react to the webs ever changing environment will determine if its successful or become just another Digg.

Further Reading:

Reddit Overtakes Digg

Reddit Grows 230%

Wikipedia – Reddit


Data Is The Next Intel Inside……. [Updated]

According to Web 2.0 expert O’Reilly and many other industry analysts data is now the new intel inside, it doesn’t matter how fast or powerful our computers become, the access to information is far more important than any technical specs. We are now entering the stage where the interent is proving us with a huge portion of our data, this data is power and is accesible like never before. As a result its thrown up a number of new companies and dilemmas on how to share such data. One example of this new wave of data access is:

Spotify is a music streaming service that offers unlimited streaming of selected music from a range of major and independent record labels. Users of Spotify can register either for free accounts supported by visual and radio-style advertising or for a paid subscription which come without those pesky ads and with a range of extra features such as higher bitrate streaming and the ability to access your playlisted music offline. The service also allows for:

  • The ability to create a personalised playlist or the option too listen to others
  • Take your music on the go; premium service allows for iphone (plus other mobile devices) offline music listening
  • Fully social media site compatible: Share with your friends on Twitter and Facebook
  • Radio function, to allow you to sit back and listen to new music without the effort of going through creating a playlist.
  • Combine your local music files with the your play-listed Spotify ones.

Spotify’s US advert: Spotify obviously isnt the only application out there doing music this way, a fellow classmate has done an interesting article into one of Spotify’s rivals.. Pandora Revisiting my opening statement: But why is Spotify an example of  how data is the new Intel inside? Well the easiest example of this is that the service is able to offer a user over 10 million tracks to select from… thats the equilivant of having around 40 million megabytes (if each song was 4mb) of songs at your disposal… or 39062 GB at your disposal every single day…. where as i currently have 16GB (I hope my maths right). To me thats just staggering and a clear indication of where the future music business is heading… even Apple have been rumoured to be considering offering a cloud version of iTunes. Further more the integration of a exceptionally well tailored database allows for the user to not only find new music via a search but also creates a tailor-made radio service that takes into consideration the users likes, genre style and location. Furthermore the service has allowed the user to share there music via social media and continue building the transfer of data from one individual to the next. Sadly Spotify is currently only offered in a number of countries one of which isnt Australia… but when it eventually gets here ill be one of the first to sign up. Links: Spotify Home Page Wikipedia Entry –  Spotify

Google’s Person Finder

Over the last couple of months there has been a series of natural disasters across the globe that have caused devastation on nearly every continent the human race resides upon. As these disaster take our homes, destroy cities and take loved ones from us, social media is being used as a tool in the reporting, clean-up and finding of people in these terrible disasters. Social networking sites such as Twitter are used as a way of pushing live news updates around the world (via the #tag, example). The collaboration of these individual micro blogs containing snapshots of information provided family members with reassurance, but also the wider community an incite into what was going on in the minutes, hours and days after such a natural disaster. In a generation where newspaper sales have decreased, more and more people are harnessing the collective intelligence of social media to provide them with an overview of what is going on.

Below is a infographic from Mashable on how social media is used in general with an emergency…. Click to find out more:

Social Media Emergency Infographic

How Social Media Is Used During Emergencies

But it’s not just these large social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook being used to combat issues raised by natural disasters, large corporations are helping a hand in the relief effort of a natural disaster, once such example is Google, who hours after the recent earthquakes in Haiti, Christchurch and now Japan have set up a service to find relatives who may be missing due to the disasters.

Google’s Person Finder:

The website uses collaborative techniques to allow families to  search for a missing persons or on the other hand for a missing person to put their details on the site in order to be found or to relieve the stress placed on the family members. During this weeks earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Google aided the Red Cross who were initially overwhelmed with people using its Family Links website, which helps track people during an emergency. Within a couple of hours Google stepped in, launching a version of its person finder tool for the earthquake, Person Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake, the tool can be used in Japanese or English.

Google People Finder Home Page

Google People Finder Home Page

Although an application like Person Finder has greater value than most traditional web applications it is still able to meet one of the 8 core patterns of the evolution of Web 2.0. According to Tim O’Reilly this core pattern, which is one of 8 is based around the ideal of enriching the user’s experience. Google’s application is a great example of harnessing collective intelligence as more people use the service the greater number of ‘someones’ will appear on the application. This combining of the records enables the user to find exactly what there look for; a family member.

As we start to have a greater understanding as to ways of using web 2.0, a greater number of social media collaboration tools will be used in a variety of situations that intertwine within our daily lives. Google’s person finder is just one of many that have changed the way we deal with emergencies and most importantly as a tool in aiding the finding  of  what means most in live.. our loved ones.

Want more on how Social Media has helped during the Japan earthquake then try these links:

How Twitter & Facebook Helped

Vital Lifelines

People Turn To The Web In Times Of Crisis


How To Follow The Japans Disaster Online