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Reddit is one of those sites on the internet that is a bee hive of activities and has been referred to on numerous occasions as the ‘front page of the internet.’ But is it?

Students from the University of Notre Dame beg to differ. The students published a paper titled ‘Consumers and Curators: Browsing and Voting Patterns on Reddit.’ In that paper the students argue that 73% of Reddit users who upvote or downvote a particular post on the site never actually click through the link to read the content.

That would mean, of the 234 million monthly visitors to Reddit per month, only 63.18 million are the ones who actively engage with the links posted therein. Though, according to Motherboard, these students’ research only surveyed the behavior of just 309 Redditors.

The researchers relied on their own independent data, instead of the one released by Reddit. They achieved that by creating a bespoke browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox. The browser plugin recorded and tabulated the behavior of Redditors while using the site.

According to their research finding, most of the Redditors are actually just “headline browsers,” they scroll through the pages while upvoting or downvoting headlines. The research goes further to say that 84% of Redditors only interacted with content in less than half of their page loads. 94% interact with less than 60% of their page loads.

What does it mean for Reddit popularity?

There is no doubt this is not the kind of publicity that would make Reddit, as a company happy. Nonetheless it does serve as an eye opener of a few things:

The headline is very important. It takes really interesting headline to get people to click through and read the content.

The upvote or downvote on a particular post on Reddit doesn’t necessarily relate with its readership. The act of upvoting or downvoting can be said to be a matter of assumptions and user temperament towards the headline, but not necessarily their experience of the content itself.

Users’ attention comes a premium. There tons of things to read on, not just Reddit, but across the internet. To get the user’s attention, one must work hard to make it worth their while.

Content curators competition is increasing daily, and the readers are becoming more difficult to please.

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