I find the idea of reading a Gawker article about Reddit as homework to be amusing. Both are places that highbrow journalists look down upon as far as content and form is concerned. But the article did bring up some very interesting points regarding how Reddit can be used as a gathering of information. Sure, Violentacrez is just some troll sitting on his computer looking for ways to spark a reaction out of people. But is that not what we also are looking to do as journalists (minus the troll part)?
In a way, Violentacrez is a gatekeeper. He patrols his subreddits making sure to keep the filth out and what’s content worthy in. It is unfortunate that he’s using his skills in content aggregation and gatekeeping on porn, but he’s also making a great social comment by doing so. People are going to react to what’s posted in front of them. It’s finding the right content for them to react to that makes it tricky.
Having never used Reddit, I’m not sure of the value of the journalism that it produces. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that it would be a good source for content aggregation. I’d give it a chance, though most of what I’ve seen come from Reddit is from the not-so-journalistic side. Its “you supply me with something to react to” style seems to be more for funny posts than for journalism. It’s up to you to avoid the trolls. (Pardon the botched AP Style but please read the second word of each sentence. Yes, you’ve been trolled.) Like I said, you need to watch out for them.
The other article focused on Google Plus, or as many people now refer to it, the failed Facebook. But, it pointed out how Google Plus really isn’t a failure, since it’s finding ways to adapt to people’s needs. The author even goes as far as to say it’s not really a social networking platform anymore, so much as it is “Google’s version of Google.” I think that’s fair. Facebook is going to continue to reign supreme as our social media go to (at least for a little while longer). So, trying to become the new Facebook isn’t advantageous for Google. Rather, finding ways to incorporate all of these different parts of Google, while connecting people, is making Google more useful and making user experience stronger.
As far as journalistic value, the idea of bloggers pictures showing up next to their stories is huge. It eliminates stolen stories and also links directly back to the author when someone is searching for them. There is accountability. It also seems like Google Plus could work as something that would help with content aggregation, as well. Since it’s drawing from what you are searching it can link you to different groups that would be interested or have a stake in the topic. It seems a lot like Facebook’s graph search, but with Google’s search capabilities built in.