Reddit’s forums are famous for hosting some of the most vibrant and some of the most disturbing (my personal opinion) discussions on the Web. The New York Times article by Jason Henry stated, “Mr. Huffman reappeared last Friday as chief executive to pull off a turnaround of the online message board, which has grappled with a series of missteps and is embroiled in a battle to win back the confidence of its users.” The San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Greta Kaul wrote, The new CEO of Reddit hosted an “Ask Me Anything” forum to clarify its content policies, which have been debated by free speech advocates and an antiharassment contingent for weeks. The site, known for everything from elevated conversations about political philosophy to photo collections of dead children, rolled out rules designed to curb harassment.
There were more than 40,000 Reddit users tuned in to Thursday’s forum at various times and generated 9,000 comments ~an hour. CEO Steve Huffman wrote, “We’ll consider banning subreddits (forums) that clearly violate the guidelines in my post — the ones that are illegal or cause harm to others. “There are many subreddits whose contents I and many others find offensive, but that alone is not justification for banning.”
While most of the controversy is about Reddit administrator’s who have drawn both praise and criticism for their hands-off approach to regulating what could be said on the site and, which leaves many decisions up to volunteer moderators, there is an all together additional issue that not only Reddit has to face, but so do many other brands in this Age of Digital Disruption. In Ray Wang’s book: Disrupting Digital Business: Create An Authentic Experience in A Peer-to-Peer Economy says Digital Darwinism is not kind to those who wait to understand the transformation and choices business have to make, and make now.
My POV: Reddit has to decide what is going to drive their company. Are they defined by the type of brand they want to be or are they defined, as a company, by their digital business model? Over five thousand years ago our marketplaces were the hub of civilization. They were where traders returned from remote lands with exotic spices, jewels, silks, monkeys and parrots and told us fabulous stories. The Internet is still a place for storytelling. That’s not going to change. But what is changing is how businesses make money in this new storytelling-based marketplace call the Internet. Here’s what I mean by that.