On Thursday, Reddit revealed what the biggest trending topics and subreddits were for 2022, and if you guessed that it was a forum for internet haranguing, then you would be correct — but also — you should probably take a break from the internet for a few days.
As if advice columns weren’t popular enough for all the vicarious shade digital users get to throw at people’s life problems, Reddit’s top subreddit was r/AmItheAsshole. The page is essentially a forum for people to lap up supportive messages while making difficult decisions, or else subject themselves to the internet mobs looking to pick apart strangers’ lives inch by inexorable inch.
Notably, a popular TikTok channel with over 433,000 followers included videos of a robotic voice reading text from the AITA subreddit and other r/Askreddit forums while a person navigates Minecraft obstacle courses.
Similar ask-and-answer subreddits made it to the top of the list or otherwise saw massive increases in total views, according to the company. Meanwhile, major news events like the war in Ukraine and the intensifying commercial space race drove traffic to news-based subreddits. It’s no coincidence that one of the most upvoted posts, beyond videos of animals acting cute, was related to Ukraine handing Russia its nuclear weapons over 30 years ago.
Reddit also held up its r/place project, which asked artistic-minded Redditors to create a small tile to craft a massive collage, which grew to include more than 160 million contributions over four days. The site has been changing and growing with the times and some advertising companies have noticed. Taco Bell released ads on Reddit meant to cater to the crowd, but the Pete Davidson-led ads just ended up causing a fuss. Reddit culture was often spilling out into the wider web, such as when subreddit mods protested Texas Governor Greg Abbott over the state’s social media law.
Reddit does seem very interested in collectibles this year, with the release of its “cryptosnoos” NFT avatars that the company’s top exec was very adamant he did not want to call NFTs. On Thursday, users could log on for their Reddit Recap that shows how much time users spent on the platform (measured in the time it would take to rocket up to the moon), their top subreddits, upvotes, and more. All this was packaged into a kind of trading card with a “Superpower Reddit Ability.” Users’ cards are either “rare,” “epic,” or “legendary” based on how many Reddit Karma they accrued.
Click through to read some of the most-trending topics on Reddit, which may give a sense where forum, and the wider internet culture may be going in 2023. The data from upvoted posts goes from Jan. 1 to Nov. 22, while other general data only runs until Oct. 23.
Most-viewed Subreddits Included Bad Advice and World News
Redditors cannot get enough of drama, it seems. The shocking stories of people looking for advice in a complicated world rose to the top two spots of Reddit’s most-viewed. One of the most upvoted posts on that forum was about a man telling their 4-year-old niece to say “el chupacabra” when her mum asked “you know what really gets my goat?” Similarly, Reddit noted that r/AskMen and r/AskWomen saw view increases by more than 50% each. The subreddit Today I Fucked up, or r/tifu, came up as #27 most-viewed.
Meanwhile, r/Ukraine had 1.8 million views, which the company said was a 76,000% increase from 2021.
Redditors Really Wanted to Hear from Nicolas Cage
Nicholas Cage’s latest movie The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent really put the Cage-iness in Nicolas Cage’s larger-than-life personality. Accordingly, many thousands of people lined up on Reddit earlier this year to ask the star if he’s annoyed people yell at him in public (he’s not) or his favourite flicks (Apocalypse Now and Spirited Away). Just so, his most-sought role is Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas.
The other top AMAs included:
- r/movies Hello, I’m Nicolas Cage and welcome to Ask Me Anything
- r/iama I am Jon Stewart, host of The Problem with Jon Stewart on Apple TV+, and I’m here to talk with you about the stock market. AMA!
- r/iama I’m Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and author of “How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.” Ask Me Anything.
- r/iama I’m LeVar Burton, host of LeVar Burton Reads. AMA!
- r/comics Hello, my name is Zach Stafford, I make extra fabulous, deogie, and Pervis comics. I have been making comics for ten years and I’m finally making a book! AMA
The Cutest Cat Ambush Should Have Been Number 1
As far as most upvoted posts on reddit, the scene was dominated by Reddit’s r/place massive collage, which is indeed impressive for the quality of the collective quilt. Unfortunately, a video of a man stopping by the side of the road to rescue a kitten, only to be ambushed by a hoard of similarly sized wee cats, only made it to number 4. This is truly a crime, though it was the most upvoted post among the animal category in the r/aww subreddit.
- r/place: Full screenshot of r/place 2022 (434,300 upvotes)
- r/interestingasfuck: In 1996 Ukraine handed over nuclear weapons to Russia “in exchange for a guarantee never to be threatened or invaded” (403,500 upvotes)
- r/mademesmile: he finally got his acorn 🥺 (379,800 upvotes)
- r/aww: Man stops to rescue kitten, gets ambushed by platoon (357,200 upvotes)
- r/place: Place has ended. (353,700 upvotes)
A Few of the Most-viewed Subreddits in Gaming and Tech
Gaming took centre stage, as it often does on Reddit, as the company noted it was the 34 most-subscribed to community among its global community. Two games that made top of the pile were r/eldenring, which was the most-viewed subreddit among games and the eighth most-viewed overall. At the same time Genshin Impact fans made the game take the #5 spot in the category, down from first last year. The number 4 spot was taken by the forum for the dinosaur-centric survival game Lost Ark.
At the same time, r/Space was the number 4 most-viewed subreddit in the science category, and was dominated by a tool that compared the Webb Telescope’s images of the Galaxy to Hubble’s.
Foodies Were Really Making a Mess on Reddit This Year
The r/foodporn subreddit was having a proverbial ball this year, with the most upvoted post at 37,700 going to Lavender ice cream at Australia’s largest lavender farm. We still do not know if the ice cream tasted like soap when all was said and done. Another top upvoted meal was a 15-year-old making tonkatsu ramen (25,400 upvotes).
At the same time, the subreddit r/kitchenconfidential was the number 1 most-viewed subreddit among others of its kind. Apparently, there are a lot of chefs out there or food-adjacent folks really interested in sharing tips and tricks with each other, as well as showing off new fryers or kitchen doors.
People Still Aren’t Sick of Marvel or Star Wars on Reddit
What have become the two most prolific properties under the Disney brand are sitting pretty as the most-viewed TV or movie-related subreddits on Reddit. That’s really no surprise, but some of the other most talked-up shows for 2022 made the list, including Better Call Saul and Stranger Things.
And films outside the U.S. also gained prominence, likely due to the international hit RRR that aired on Netflix. r/bollywood went from unranked to the #23 most-viewed.
Animals Will Always be Popular
The subreddit r/aww dominated the space in animal-related subreddits for 2020. All three of the most-upvoted posts in the category were on r/aww, including:
- Man stops to rescue kitten, gets ambushed by platoon (366,700 upvotes)
- Update on the 13 kittens that ambushed this man. They’re getting their first bath this morning. (246,800 upvotes)
- A video analysis of the difference between Joule joining Kelvin and Kelvin joining Joule. (223,200 upvotes)
The other big animal-based subreddits included r/cats and r/funnyanimals.
Spooky Reddit is Definitely Still a Thing
If you haven’t dived down the rabbit hole of creepy subreddits, I don’t advise it. Or actually, I do advise it. Creepypasta is like an old friend who abandoned you five years ago and shows up on your doorstep and yet for some reason you aren’t mad.
NFL Dominates the U.S., While European Sports Fans Accept ‘Soccer’ Instead of ‘Football’
Here’s an interesting bit of confusion. Reddit said that the r/nfl subreddit is the ninth biggest subreddit in sports for the U.S., at least according to the number of posts and comments users submitted. It’s curious why the NFL has to use this separate designation for its brand compared to r/nba which Reddit called the #6 most-viewed subreddit on the platform.
Still, what’s even more curious is how many Europeans from France, Germany, and the U.K. have logged onto the r/soccer subreddit, despite it being the wrong name for the sport in those countries. It ranks as between the fifth and 17th most-engaged subreddits in each country. Still, it might not be too big of a deal since the number of U.S. users far outnumbers redditors in France, Germany, and the U.K. combined.
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