January 23, 2022

Research Article: “How Does the Front Page of the Internet Behave? Readability, Emoticon Use, and Links on Reddit”

The following article appears in the November 2016 issue of First Monday and was posted online earlier today.


How Does the Front Page of the Internet Behave? Readability, Emoticon Use, and Links on Reddit


Andrew Tsou
Indiana University


First Monday
November 2016
Vol. 21, No. 11


Reddit, known as “the front page of the Internet,” has been one of the most widely visited Web sites since its inception in 2005. As a social networking site it is unique in that the personal relationships between its users are considered secondary to its content, which includes both original, user-generated content and links to outside sources. Although previous research has investigated other social networking platforms in depth, relatively little has been written on Reddit. The present research considers a variety of indicators, including text readability, emoticon usage, and domain linkage. It was found that the most popular communities on Reddit behave very differently from each other, in terms of language sophistication, sentiment, and topicality (as measured by top-level links to outside sources). The results can be used to inform future investigations of online discourse spaces, particularly those in the contemporary social media sphere.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.