Reddit Users Can Create Own Social Networks

26 08 2008

After social news site Reddit went open-source in June, this was a logical next step: letting members take the code and import it to their own sites, creating social-news hubs of their own. That’s the company’s latest announcement, per a blog post on Tuesday.

“Today is the day Reddit fully becomes a platform for building link sharing sites,” a post on the company blog explained. Technically, developers could already do this. But now the site is making it easier for them to do so, and letting them customize the design of the voting system to fit their own sites; more importantly, they can import them off the Reddit domain.

The site’s humor-inclined team referred to the site update as “somewhere between when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly and when six hydrogen nuclei combine to form helium and (eventually) life as we know it.” More likely, it’ll make the news-voting system proliferate on sites that wouldn’t otherwise have it; Reddit’s team brought up the example of an entire Reddit voting system devoted to people who love bacon, for example.

Though Reddit, which was acquired by Conde Nast’s Wired Digital division in 2006, is much smaller than rival Digg and the fast-growing Yahoo Buzz, this could make some waves. Plenty of sites have tried to build third-party social news systems in-house, and Reddit’s open-source alternative could make it easier to integrate this sort of thing.

Plus, the company is hosting a contest to see who can create the best “custom Reddit” from scratch (i.e., fewer than 250 subscribers) in a month. The winner gets a MacBook Air laptop, a $1,500 Apple gift card, and a bucketload of free Reddit gear. Go, bacon guys, go!


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