Read Remark book review - We Are the Nerds by Christine Logario-Chafkin

Book Review: We Are the Nerds by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

In We Are the Nerds: The Inside Story of Reddit, Christine Lagorio-Chafkin follows the inception, growth, and wild popularity of Reddit.

I love stories of tech startups. There’s something so compelling about the genius and somewhat naive optimism of the founders. Scenes of them coding in humble basements, apartments, and garages are as exciting as suspense movies to me. (The system has been breached! Abort! Abort!)

Reddit’s birth has surprisingly less drama than I would have thought, though it does have its fair share. I believe being part of Y Combinator, a tech startup fund that nurtures and guides its recipients, helped them find their way more smoothly.

Unfortunately, the pratfalls seem to have mostly come after they were acquired. Begging a multi-billion-dollar company for permission to hire just one much-needed employee and getting denied is ridiculous.

Lagorio-Chafkin follows a few tributaries that flow away from the story, such as Swartz’s night as a homeless tourist. It’s hard to fault those streams of consciousness to nowhere, though, because they add such interesting color to the story.

She explores the seedy communities that live within the Redditsphere – the kind that make you lose faith in humanity, or even delve into illegal territory. The Reddit admins have to navigate a tricky balance between free speech and dangerous hate speech and straight-up crime.

Good book about an insanely addictive platform. It makes me want to take a scroll through Reddit right now, in fact.

I’m a relative newbie when it comes to Reddit and my activity is limited to lurking – reading other people’s posts without adding my own comments. I love the little inside jokes (NEXT! I am ALL British on this blessed day!) and the funny comment threads.

Here are a few of my favorite subreddits.

Experienced users will probably have even more vibrant ones than this, so feel free to comment on additional communities I should be following.

r/shittyrobots

People make robots that suck. They slap you in the face, throw trash across the room, and dab until they fall over. Most of them are pretty innovative, even if they’re sh*tty.

r/KenM

He’s a famous internet commenter, coming up with the most ridiculous things you’ve heard. His subreddit was the gateway drug that got me addicted to Reddit.

r/UnethicalLifeProTips 

The ethical life tips are a little bit too self-satisfied for me, so I’ll go for sarcasm instead. Besides, I think I’m all life-hacked out. I don’t need to be told I’m life-ing wrong.

r/therewasanattempt 

Failure at its best. I think I’m seeing a theme in what I like here. This shows people, animals, and things hilariously trying and failing at things.

r/SkincareAddiction

These users are so inspiring – they’ve developed skincare routines that take their faces from blah to wow. One of these days, I’ll figure out the secret to my own skin.

r/savedyouaclick 

These are the real heroes of the internet. They give us the results of those annoying articles that have a clickbaity title then make you click through 42 pages to get to the punchline.

r/insanepeoplefacebook

There are lots of insane people writing insane posts on Facebook. Some of them are even related to us. This is a place to gather and laugh at what they say.

r/gatekeeping

“You think you’re sleepy? Try having a kid!” “You’re not a real Simpsons fan unless you can quote everthing Bart’s ever said!” “Real men work in the mines!” So many self-aggrandizing memes to make fun of.

r/CorporateFacepalm

Sport of a “therewasanattempt for companies. Maybe they have a badly-designed logo or a badly-times Tweet. I think I just like laughing at the wah-wah (cue the slide trombone) moments.

r/horror

If you like horror movies, this is the place for you. The give recommendations on what’s good and not so good. My watch list has grown exponentially since following this group.

r/ChoosingBeggars

This is probably my favorite subreddit. People are horrible! Someone asks for something for free that they have no business asking for, like wedding photography or childcare, then act like entitled brats about it. So bad good!!!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Hachette for an advance copy of We Are the Nerds in exchange for an honest review.


We Are the Nerds: The Inside Story of Reddit
Christine Lagorio-Chafkin
Published October 2018
Hachette