Logoed with the UC Berkeley crest and covered in a sunset view centered around the Campanile, the Berkeley subreddit has become the community’s go-to spot to ask questions and share opinions.
Created Feb. 27, 2008, the Berkeley Reddit page r/berkeley has become an open forum for UC Berkeley and its host city.
Students use the website to ask questions about choosing classes, invite students to join campus trash cleanup, as well as raise awareness of issues such as the recent protests and burning of Sather Gate.
Campus figures such as Chancellor Carol Christ and Oski also use the social media outlet to host an “Ask me anything!” forum, where Reddit users can vote on and post questions for them to answer.
Over the course of multiple years, Christ has answered dozens of questions on these forums. “No questions are off-limits. But keep it respectful and formal,” said Reddit user and r/berkeley moderator u/lulzcakes about Christ's 2021 “Ask me anything!” session.
Since its formation, the page has grown to more than 120,000 subscribers. As of today, it is the largest of any college institution, with University of Toronto’s r/UofT coming in second with 94,133 members.
Most notably, the page’s following started skyrocketing in 2020 — as students and community members dealt with the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parallel to the number of members, the total number of daily comments model a similar pattern. Most notably, April 26, 2021 has the highest number of daily comments out of the dates on the graph. This is likely due to phase 1 enrollment for the fall 2021 semester beginning on the same day.
An analysis of posts reveals 9 p.m. to be the most popular time to post. This may suggest r/berkeley visitors are more likely to visit the page in the evening, when the workday is over and few classes are in session.
In contrast, 5 a.m. is the least popular time to post. Presumably, most users are asleep in the early morning.
Compared to Saturdays and Sundays, weekdays seem to be slightly more active times for new posts. Nevertheless, the distribution of posts across days is fairly even. At almost 11,000 posts, Saturday has the fewest posts, but trails not too far behind Tuesday’s 14,519 posts.
r/berkeley is for both the community of UC Berkeley and the city of Berkeley, according to its page. However, the numbers of flairs, or categories, tagged “University” outranks all other tags, suggesting a large number of discussions and posts in the subreddit pertains to campus issues.
It is valuable to note that the CS/EECS flair directly follows the “University” flair in popularity, reflecting the page’s prominent discourse on topics related to electrical engineering and computer science.
The subreddit will only grow from here, and only time will be able to tell how the forum will be shaped.
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This project was developed by the Projects Department at The Daily Californian.
Data for this project come from information webscraped from the r/Berkeley subreddit on Oct. 10, 2022.
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