Infamous web community Reddit is taking a big step. They’re going “meat space” and opening of real world “chat houses” in the US this fall, and they’re hoping it will bring all the same successes.
Jaskon Rosrath, the new VP of Ground Development, explained, “Reddit is great because it takes over your life life a wicked smack addiction, but it’s it’s not all good… We’re trying to bring the humanity back to it, cats and all.”
The idea, apparently, is that they’ll rent space in key urban centers where they’ll real-world meet-ups.
“Bring your politics, bring your atheism, bring your WTF [gross out] pictures and we’ll have some serious, quality, real-world interaction,” says Rosrath, or “Jonkey”, as he has since has been asked to be called.
I asked Rosrath how it works. “I’m sorry, who? There’s no Rosrath here, brah.” I apologized, and restated the question, referring to him as Jonkey.
“It works almost exactly like regular Reddit, but in literal form. You bring in the picture or article you want to share on a sheet of paper, and other users put stars on it and hand-write comments. Focus groups say this works.”
If you have a funny picture of your cat you shot on your cell phone, you can’t simply bring your phone. You have to print the picture, affix it to an oversized sheet of paper, and bring it with you. If you read something interesting in the paper, you have to cut it out and go through the same routine.
“An upvote [is represented with] one of these stars, and if you want to downvote something, just peel a star off of the paper,” explained an adorable mousey intern, whose name I was unable to get before she was ushered out of the room with notable force. Hope to see her on /r/gonewild, but not holding my breath.
In the future, they hope to host discussion parties for specific subreddits like /r/politics, /r/funny and /r/AnusFree (NSFW). They think that the more they can specialize, the better the parties will be.
The question of financing came up, and, when pressed, they were less than forthcoming.
“Well, we’ll obviously have t-shirts available for sale at each of the locations, and we’ll allow sponsored people to come in, with a label on their foreheads designating them as such. Basically we know it’s going to lose money upfront, but we’ll figure that out later.”
Industry analyst Roger Hammerstien suggested that, “They can afford to lose a ton of money right out of the gate, and though it’s plainly obvious they’re going to bleed money from the eyes right up until they pull the plug on it, they’re still going to do it, so there’s always that.”
Noted futurist Hobo Pete had only to add, “You can flip a grasshopper on it’s back and then break it in half,” and, “come on, that was funny, can you spare five bucks, dude?”