Members can upvote or downvote posts and comments made by other users, which leads to upvoted content appearing at the top of a subreddit and, in cases of extreme popularity, Reddit’s frontpage, which is structured as a scrolling newsfeed. Reddit is a web traffic powerhouse: in July 2019 almost 1.7 billion visits were measured to the online platform, making it one of the most-visited websites online. In fact, many links that get reposted to Reddit and gain popularity lead to a huge spike of traffic to the originating websites, often leading to the so-called “Reddit hug of death” for unsuspecting platforms. Despite the immense traffic, Reddit accounts for less than one percent of social media site visits in the United States.
According to a 2019 survey of Reddit users in the United States, the most common reasons to use Reddit were entertainment and news. Redditors are highly engaged online audiences, with almost half of them accessing Reddit on a daily basis. Reddit can be read without an account, however, according to industry estimates there are 26.4 million logged-in Reddit users in the United States. This figure is projected to increase to 35.2 million logged-in users in 2023.
One of the most popular types of original content on the platform are “Ask Me Anything” posts (AMAs), where crowdsourced interviews are possible. The interviewee introduces themselves by starting a post and describing who they are and what they do, then Reddit users can leave questions which can be answered selectively by the interviewee. Since Reddit posts can be upvoted or downvoted by other users, it is easy to see which questions other users would like answered. The /r/IamA subreddit is the main place for AMAs but these interviews can also happen in other subreddits.
A wide range of scientists, actors, celebrities, politicians, people with uncommon or unique experiences or other notable persons have done AMAs on Reddit. In 2018, Bill Gates returned for his sixth AMA in 2018 and the post generated over 124,000 upvotes, making it the most popular AMA of the year.