What is liberal, atheist and probably harbors an extreme love for cats? According to junior Katia Charov, the answer is a ‘redditor.’
“That’s a joke among us,” Charov said. “But if I’m being honest, though most redditors do fit those categories, there are all kinds of people on the site: conservatives, theists... Really anyone who wants can join. The typical redditor might be someone who earnestly likes engaging in discussion. Or just someone who likes funny pictures of cats.”
Following reddit’s “Grow A College Subreddit” competition, Hopkins made its way into the reddit-sphere. Hopkins currently has over 500 subscribers on the university subreddit, consisting of current students, alumni and prospective students. Posts span anywhere from incoming freshman asking questions about college life to current students posting memes of Hopkins-specific or even general college jokes.
Inspired by reddit’s first “College reddit Meetup Day,” Hopkins redditors held a small get-together at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15 at the AMR Barbeque Pit. However, due to the redditors’ inability to officially reserve any location, the AMR Barbeque Pit was shared with a Mock Trial meeting.
“We’re not an official school club, which is why we couldn’t formally reserve the BBQ space for our meet-up,” sophomore Alison Trenter said. “We’re an online community that has Johns Hopkins in common. Still, I do think the meet-up was successful. There were about 15 people there, and we didn’t have high expectations for a huge event. People from different years mingled and just talked about classes and television. The turnout was a bit surprising, because usually reddit is considered to be dominated by awkward guys, but the majority of the people at the meet up were girls.”
Founded in 2005, reddit has quickly been gaining traction ever since. An online community comprised of, as Charov said, just about anyone, the online site serves the purpose of circulating information throughout the internet.
“Reddit is a site fueled by user content,” Tretter said. “That can mean videos, articles, pictures, GIFs, pretty much anything. Not to mention the variety of topics people can post under. The way reddit works is that users subscribe to ‘subreddits,’ which basically are topics they would like to keep up with. This can be anything from serious topics, like world news, to silly things, like pictures of cats.”
Although the Hopkins subreddit has hundreds of subscribers, an initial group of only three men and nine women, four of which were non-redditor friends, attended the meet-up. A few more people shuffled in throughout the evening.
Though the redditors were not obligated to reveal reddit username identities, everyone shared his or her name, major and class year. After introductions, the group talked about classes they have taken at Hopkins, the uneven male to female ratio of their group and the best or most strange subreddits they have seen. However, the main question of the evening still remained: Who is Sgt_Ice_Bucket?
“I wouldn’t say we have a president or someone in charge of us, since we’re not a typical club,” freshman Melanie Brown said. “But we do have a reddit moderator, who goes by the username ‘Sgt_Ice_Bucket.’ No one knows who he is, and I think a lot of people attended to try to figure out who he is and what he’s like in person. He’s a senior, so he probably looks pretty old; we also guessed that he’s probably tall.”
Speculating what the mysterious Sgt_Ice_Bucket might look like, guesses spanned anywhere from “a sergeant wearing an ice bucket on his head” to “look out for a tall guy with a beard.”
“We never found out who Sgt_Ice_Bucket is,” Brown said. “I don’t think he or she showed up to the event. I thought the meet-up went well, though. We got to meet other JHU redditors, and it was nice to meet some new people and talk about reddit a bit.”