Snoo, the small mascot of REDDIT, contains a lot. This precious, always smiling alien appeared on top of hundreds of subreddit, mixing with the locals like a shrewd politician. In r/trees, a community of marijuana lovers, Snoo took a breath. In r/gonewild, Snoo wears a wig and underwear to take a selfie.
In r/Asceticism, Snoo is dematerialized as network ether, and its form is just a ray of outline. Cheeky bastard. In fact, Snoo’s existence has always been an internal joke. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian (Alexis Ohanian) doodled the creature in his notebook during his fourth-year marketing class at the University of Virginia.
The combination of black and white with red seems to be summoned by pure whimsy: oval head, pom-pom ears, and single antenna. Just like Teletubbies, minus the space suit. When Reddit was launched in 2005, this painting was used as a handy icon for the website and it was a place to share news links at the time.
At first, Ohanian wanted to call this website S’new, which was a shorthand for “What’s new?” The more delicious name Reddit prevailed; Snoo, more pleasant spelling, lives with the mascot. As Reddit expanded and its user base split into tribes (subreddit), Snoo proved to be a suitable role model.
“Snoo symbolizes Reddit and Reddit users,” Ohanian said, because this icon happens to be particularly easy to shape. Happily, Ohanian’s hasty sketches make Snoo colorless and genderless, and everyone can map themselves to this form.
In some ways, this creative canvas illustrates the early Internet, where no one knew you were a dog. Even now, the closest thing to verification on Reddit is to confirm that the email attached to your account is authentic. Anonymity is accepted, even encouraged.
You can have multiple accounts, fake accounts, and one-time accounts for posting deep, dark meditations that cannot be traced back to the real you under any circumstances. (I have three usernames: one for lurking, one for reporting, and the other for purposes that I will never share in print.) The identity is fragmented; for each version of you, a new Snoo.
There are some limitations, especially now that Reddit has matured. You cannot harass or threaten other users, and you cannot deploy Snoo for these purposes. In fact, Snoo has several design limitations. When Reddit launched a new version of the site in April-this was the first update in ten years-the team standardized certain anatomical features: Snoo’s head “should always appear blank or neutral.” ; Its eyes should be orange-red, hexadecimal #FF4500; it cannot have fingers; it should have ears (perhaps best to hear and stop hate speech).
The company also gave Snoo a clearer goal: to discover and explore humans. (After the redesign, r/trees and r/asceticism no longer have Snoo.) It turns out that this is a continuation of Snoo’s origin story. Ohanian said it was never an alien. It comes from the future, a little time traveler came here to observe our reality. As Ohanian explained, “This is a guarantee that we will not fail. If we fail, Snoo will not be able to return to the present.”