R/Temple competes with other schools for the most popular subreddit page.
Reddit.com, a combination of social news aggregation and online forum, bases the popularity of its content on user votes. To stay relevant, Reddit separates different topics and groups into individual forums, or subreddits, which focus on anything from finance to flower identification. Temple has its own subreddit, “r/Temple,” and its competing with approximately 500 other schools for the position of most popular college in the Grow a College Subreddit Competition.
With the help of a small group of students spreading the word, r/Temple has grown 31 percent since the beginning of the year, up 113 subscribers since the end of August.
Sophomore management information systems major John Shaw said he thinks this growth can be attributed to word-of-mouth. The group plans on using advertising techniques such as QR codes, which will link people who are genuinely interested to the site.
Shaw took on the leadership position of promoting r/Temple after no one else volunteered. Although he said he doesn’t think Temple has a good chance at winning the title of the most popular college, he still thinks it’s a worthy endeavor to build-up an online community within the university.
“Winning would be awesome,” Shaw said. “But if we can get a community to form, that would be awesome.”
Topics that have appeared on r/Temple over the past few weeks include news of President Ann Weaver Hart’s resignation, gripes about watching Netflix in an over-crowded Anderson Hall computer lab, various club announcements and housing advice for incoming freshmen.
“The nature of Reddit is to get people’s honest opinion on things,” Shaw said. “Temple really doesn’t have anything like that.”
Reddit differs from other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter because it’s main goal is to encourage discussion. Shaw said he thinks the site has potential to act as a strong tool for community development because users get to decide what content appears on the front page.
“There was one post where a high school junior or senior was asking about Temple to get people’s honest opinion,” Shaw said. “That was really cool.”
Shaw said he thinks club organizations could use the site to promote events. There have been two Reddit meetings at Temple this semester. Fifteen attendees showed up to the first one at Beury Beach.
R/Temple creator Alex Curin, a junior biology and chemistry major, said he started up the subreddit more than two years ago when an initial search for a Temple page on Reddit provided no results. Curin said he’s been largely inactive on the site since, but likes the way it’s progressing.
“It’s pretty cool in the sense that people can post about clubs and events,” he said.
Reddit user and freshman English major Alexandra McGrorty said she used the site to find out about a Temple protest of Troy Davis’ execution. She said that while she found this information useful, the site doesn’t always provide the most relevant student news.
“There’s some stuff that is useful,” McGrorty said. “It can be a good information source.”
The competition, which ran from Aug. 26 through Oct. 24, offers three ways to win, including best percentage growth, best absolute growth and administrator’s choice award. Prizes for the winning college include school colors on Reddit’s front page for a day with the school mascot as the Reddit alien, a large box of mascot designed alien stickers, a poster customized to the winning university and a box of the school’s subreddit QR code stickers.
The website sorts the good content from the bad based on “upvotes” and “downvotes.” A post with a large number of upvotes will appear higher up on the page than a post with downvotes.
The Temple group plans on making the upvote button on r/Temple a Temple “T” because it looks like an up arrow and a downvote button a Villanova “V”.
Check out the temple subreddit at reddit.com/r/temple.
Cory Popp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.