ronn torossian reddit

Reddit may be a for-profit online social experiment, but that hasn’t stopped users from leveraging the site’s reach to benefit their social campaigns in a big way. The latest cause to get Redditors fired up: bullying.

The social media site has developed a strong reputation for allowing free speech as well as anonymity for posters and members. But, that combination of openness and lack of accountability has caused some difficulty and downright nasty situations.

Now the site is cracking down on cyberbullying. Users who feel they are being bullied can now report the incident directly to Reddit.

According to the site, Reddit defines bullying as:

“Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person conclude that Reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation or fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.”

Not surprisingly, the rule change has created a firestorm. Some are saying it’s too vague or goes too far, limiting the speech in a formerly free speech zone. Various redditors are attacking the decisions, claiming the site is now trying to control their subgroups or kowtow to advertisers.

Meanwhile, other anti-bullying groups are using the ongoing Reddit conversation to spur discussions about bullying, on and offline, in various other arenas.

Conversations about what constitutes bullying or hate speech, what is the line between safe and free and threatening and free are happening all over the web. Including conversations on Reddit, because supporters are not allowing the detractors to be the only voice in the crowds.

Social media has tremendous PR power. A message, when captured and communicated in the proper manner, can explode in popularity and attention. Or it can fizzle and die. The difference is in how the nonprofit PR team utilizes social media.

Fundamentally, this platform is about beginning and continuing conversations, not just making statements. It’s fine to post content, but if people are not responding, you haven’t hit the mark.