Everyone has that one unproductive habit which they use to kill time, and mine is surfing Reddit. I’ve been reading the site for about ten years, mostly on my phone while waiting in lines or half-watching Netflix.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of the site, it’s essentially just an enormous collection of forums. There are “subreddits” for every topic imaginable, from local cities to animal pictures to crocheting. Users can post links and pictures, and other users can vote on the posts or leave comments. The posts with the most positive votes are displayed more prominently on the site.
I’ve always felt like Reddit was basically a time filler at best, or a waste of time at worst. It’s just meant to keep me moderately entertained, but I don’t really learn anything or gain anything from it.
A couple of months ago I started wondering how I could change that. How could I make my the time I kill on Reddit more productive or useful?
That’s when I developed a dead simple habit that has completely transformed the experience for me: Every time that I use Reddit, I now try to leave at least one nice comment on a post that I like.
The Power of Positive Comments
I mostly read subreddits that relate to running and drawing. These forums are filled with people posting their running accomplishments and latest art. For years, I’ve “lurked” in these forums — reading without posting — unless I had something very specific to add.
Now, I’ve started trying to participate instead. Specifically, I look for posts that impress or inspire me and pay them a compliment.
If I see a drawing I like, I tell them why I like it. If I see someone who has just set a new running personal record, I give them a few words of encouragement. These comments don’t have to be long or thought out. I’m just trying to show my appreciation to the person who made the post.
It only takes a few seconds of my time, and it spreads a tiny bit of positivity in the world. A nice comment to a new runner might be just the motivation they need to push themselves even further tomorrow. A friendly comment to an artist can boost their confidence and keep them on track to improve.
Some people might not think twice when they receive a friendly compliment, but for others it might be far more important than we realize.
I’m not trying to pat my own back here, because it’s also a bit of a selfish practice. Leaving a friendly comment puts me in a better mood. It helps me learn to better appreciate the accomplishments of others, even when they are total strangers.
It has turned Reddit from a time killer into something that I actually enjoy reading. Leaving nice comments has really changed the way that I think about interactions on the internet.
I’ve also been on the receiving end of these small, nice comments, and they really do have the power to make my day. When I’m in a bad mood, having someone tell me that they enjoyed something that I wrote can totally turn things around for me.
With the anonymity of the internet, it’s easy to forget that the words we type can have real consequences on people’s feelings. It’s important to remember that behind each post, there’s a real human putting themselves out there. The internet has provided us with an incredible opportunity to spread positive feelings throughout the entire world.
Next time that you have a minute to spare, try using it to share a positive comment. You may be surprised how much better it can make you feel.