RedditMap.Social: A novel map of Reddit based on user clustering

Ethan Zuckerman, Virginia Partridge, Rebecca Curran, Kevin Zheng, Jasmine Mangat
May 11, 2023

The University of Massachusetts Amherst part of our team, within the Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure, set out to explore a different type of media ecosystem through mapping the social media platform Reddit. This endeavor is a part of a long-standing project, supported by the Knight First Amendment Foundation, to map the wide landscape of all social media online. 

Reddit is home to thousands of self-moderated communities with millions of accounts. These communities contain a wealth of information that researchers, sociologists, and journalists can access and study. Reddit is of particular interest because:

  • It’s organized by topic rather than a user-to-user network; 
  • It is moderated in specific and interesting ways;
  • A nearly complete corpus of posts on the platform is available for the study thanks to Pushshift, an open source research effort by Jason Baumgartner, who has collaborated with our team through the years. 

The resulting Reddit Map produced by our team is an open-source tool that makes navigating Reddit data easier by displaying clusters of communities with overlapping community members. It is an important tool for social media and media ecosystems researchers, and will be integrated into Media Cloud’s tooling in various ways going forward, such as being able to search for content within one of the identified subreddit clusters. 

Read more about the development of the map, and interact with it now.

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