Last week, Reddit (with a little help from the rest of the internet, including the Cheezburger Network and a tiny site you might have visited once or twice, Wikipedia) helped encourage web users to transfer more than 70,000 domains away from web hosting company GoDaddy in protest of the company’s controversial support of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.
GoDaddy was singled out among the list of 150+ companies advocating the passage of SOPA because it was the only major tech company on the list, and users saw the move as a bit of a betrayal to the web at large. In the end, GoDaddy caved, but the damage was done. And the incident wasn’t the first time Reddit has been surprised (pleasantly) by its own might, so it makes sense that riding the high of successful action might inspire the well-trafficked social site to attempt to target bigger, stronger adversaries.
Like Congress. If you pay attention to the convergence of social networks and politics, there’s a very strong vibe right now suggesting that independent voices and web-organized movements are disrupting political media and the election cycle. And who better to pull together loosely-caucused users than Reddit? More bound by common interests than Twitter and Facebook, Reddit is uniquely poised to affect the coming 2012 election by funneling action through an open yet targeted space. Unlike Twitter, there are commonalities to herd Redditors together by means more unified than a hashtag. And unlike Facebook, the site is less a closed garden and more an open ball pit where those with like interests congregate.
A post on the popular subreddit r/politics today gained some media attention for what seems to be a first organized effort from users of the site to directly impact a politician. User digitalboy- in an unfortunately poorly worded/spelled post- urges his fellow Redditors:
Let’s pick ONE Senator [who] voted for NDAA/SOPA and destroy him like we’re doing for GoDaddy. Relentlessly investigate and find skeletons in his closet, money bomb [his] opponents, etc… we could unseat someone and destroy their career it would have massive repercussions.
Although reactions have thusfar been mixed in the somewhat polarized r/politics- over 10,000 upvotes and 7,000 downvotes- the post could herald a shift in the direction of the Reddit mob from soliciting and attacking corporate and entertainment targets to political ones that may affect real results. Do you think Reddit could be a game changer for the 2012 elections?