I read a lot of r/AskReddit as a middle schooler. It’s a subreddit (forum) where people ask random questions, and then other people answer. The questions on the front page of the subreddit are generally quite interesting, because thousands of other people have voted that they’re interesting.
And I feel like reading so much AskReddit actually did something good for me. I ended up ingesting tons and tons of perspectives of what made people happy, how people’s lives were, and perspectives on life that they’d developed. I feel like people who I didn’t know and will never know dropped little bits of things they’d learned over the years into my lap.
The most important thing I think it taught me is how to carry good conversations. I like to think of myself as fairly good at carrying conversations, and I think that I actually “developed” that skill by reading AskReddit. For some reason, I ended up reading a lot of comments about how to have conversations with people, and my middle school self absorbed that.
I’m not even sure what I absorbed about being a conversationalist — I think it was the standard advice about asking people questions about themselves and listening well. But somehow it’s helped me a lot, even if it’s subconscious at this point.
I guess AskReddit made the world smaller for me. It exposed me to tons of different people’s perspectives and thoughts. And in a weird way, even though I don’t remember much of the probably hundreds of hours I spent reading it, I still feel like it’s a formative piece of me.