McGill students have a strong presence on every imaginable social media platform. For example, the Facebook community includes everything from a Samosa Sale tracker to a group dedicated specifically to clothing swaps for petite people. On Instagram, the McGill University geotag is frequently used by a wide range of accounts. However, the best social media platform for McGill students to connect with each other and get introduced to campus life is definitively Reddit.
The McGill Reddit community has 6,158 subscribers, a number that seems measly compared to the approximately around 58,700 members of McGill Facebook groups. However, Reddit is one of the most engaging and interesting McGill online platforms, providing answers to individual questions, and introducing current and prospective students to various cultures and subcultures on campus.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where one is often followed by family and friends, Reddit usernames, such as “pikachu_at_mcgill,” let users anonymously post comments and questions that they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking anywhere else. One of the highlights of the Reddit community is a weekly thread called “Real Talk Friday.” Users can post rants about anything from problems in classes, to roommate troubles, to the effects of popcorn on their weight. As McGillians love to complain, this forum is essential for everyone to get their grievances off their chest. The best part? IT HAS TO BE TYPED IN ALL CAPS. It’s the digital version of the trope of a movie character standing on the edge of a cliff and screaming their problems away. The responses to comments vary from sympathy, to actual advice, to people mocking the original commenter. Regardless, the ALL CAPS mandate allows participants to convey excitement at a small victory, or make imperative statements, mixing advice with commands.
Although anonymity can, unfortunately, lead to harassment and bullying, moderators try to delete any offensive comments. Some inevitably fly under the radar, but taking away this anonymity would be taking away the edge that Reddit has over the other social media—no student would willingly ask about “the best places to poop on campus” on Facebook using their own account. The community does have some rules; one can’t discuss obtaining substances illegally, can’t start unapproved election campaigns or publish private information about an individual. The moderators can be easily reached if trouble arises, and generally do a good job at flagging or deleting comments. The easiest and best solution, however, is just don’t be an asshole online. This will allow the McGill Reddit community to achieve its highest potential.
Filters on the sidebar further add to the sense of community-building, as students can join in on the McGill-related conversations that they are most interested in. Anyone who’s interested in the recent SSMU drama can now filter their experience only read SSMU-related posts, making it easier to find people with similar or opposing views. Alternatively, those who are sick of the SSMU-related drama don’t have to wade through it to get to posts that they’re actually interested in. Instead, they can find advice about the athletic centre, for example.
Most importantly, Reddit provides a quicker and more accessible information channel than the eternity-long wait at Service Point. The FAQ linked on the sidebar is the most comprehensive one related to the McGill community, with questions ranging in topics from course registration to housing, making it an invaluable resource for potential and current students. If a student has further questions, they can then post about it and wait for responses. There are also links to a range of resources, including campus media, mental health, and legal resources.
Finally, Reddit is uniquely representative of various elements of the McGill experience. The most iconic post on this subreddit and the McGill Reddit community’s crown jewel, “Gertrude’s Theorem,” uses a meticulously-detailed spreadsheet to explain to every broke student exactly how much alcohol they’re getting for each dollar they spend at the Gerts student bar, in terms of (Gz)(Hz), or “Gertz 'til it Hertz.” This post perfectly represents a demographic of the McGill community—intelligent and creative people who like their alcohol—letting potential applicants and current students get acquainted with one facet of campus culture.
While sometimes a Reddit search results in outdated or extremely biased posts (not all Management students are suit-wearing snakes!) and the anonymity can lead to some harsh words and borderline bullying, if used respectfully, the McGill Reddit community is an invaluable resource for every McGillian, and provides unique insight into a highly diverse campus culture. Still not sold? Go forth and rant about it in the next Real Talk Friday.