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David Williams
February 18, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Reddit: Part One

Reddit is one of those rare entities that polarizes people at the mere mention of its name. Some swear by it as a vital research tool and an invaluable source of information, while others revile it as anything from childish to malicious. The latter are usually the more vocal.

I’m convinced this has to do with a lack of familiarity. For people who use it every day, Reddit is their source for everything—research, breaking news, music recommendations, etc. But for those who rarely interact with it, they only know its bad side. They don’t know about the time a redditor actually saved someone from CO poisoning or the time a redditor shocked the world with a ridiculous yet believable plot twist for the newest Star Wars movie.

Instead, they only read about stories like the infamous Boston Bomber witch hunt, where a group of redditors obsessed over finding those behind the bombing, publicly accusing people with no connection to the incident.

December 8, 2015

Physical Therapy Taught Me I'm Terrible at Solving Problems

Nerve damage is a recurring story in my life. I injured my lower back playing baseball in high school, coped with nerve pain on and off throughout my running career and, more recently, temporarily paralyzed my foot after what I’ll pretend was an epic and daring feat (it wasn't).

So when this past July rolled around and I found out about another case of nerve damage, the news wasn’t too hard to stomach. I’d been in the situation before. I knew the best- and worst-case scenarios. What was hard to stomach, however, was how it all began.

I took a nap.

September 17, 2015

Coming Clean: Online Advertising through the Eyes of a Recovering Ad Blocker

In 2012, I shunned online advertising.

I was trying to write, but, instead of being productive, I was looking for inspiration on my Facebook feed. You know, procrastinating. Just as I was about to come to my senses and start my work, I got a Facebook message from a friend.

“Dude, you NEED to check this band out. It’s like the perfect mix of August Burns Red and Between the Buried and Me.”

As an undisclosed metalhead, and as a writer looking for any reason to avoid actual work, I took the bait.

Excitement turned to disappointment. Instead of gnarly riffs and grooving rhythms, YouTube served me an ad. And not just any ad — a 30-second spot selling me on the silky-smooth features of Venus Razors.

I installed an ad blocker and didn’t see an online ad for three years.

April 27, 2015

What the Rise and Stall of Pop Music Can Teach Us about Creativity

Music is one of the greatest miracles this world has ever seen.

Think about it for a moment: composition involves little more than organizing a specific set of frequencies within the right timing. Yet that simple framework gives way to an endless potential for creativity.

And people have taken to that potential like wildfire. Human history is filled with cultures pushing the proverbial envelope of creative expression. What we have today is the result of thousands of years of ingenuity. We live in the wake of the Beethovens, the Tchaikovskys, The Beach Boys and the millions of nameless musicians who have pioneered the way for modern music.

But, we also live in the wake of missteps and foregone creativity. With every moment of success comes the temptation to leave behind music’s long-standing tradition of innovation. Musicians rise to fame, genres splinter and we’re left with the nagging question of whether popular success is really the end-all-be-all of creative expression.

If we take a look at today’s world of pop music, I think the answer is pretty clear: it’s not. 

January 13, 2015

How Hummus Won American Hearts

Things have a history of making their way to America.

And it’s not much of a surprise since, well, most of what we know today as “American” came from somewhere else. For hundreds of years immigrants have braved oceans and seas to reach the Americas, bringing along bits and pieces of their own cultures.

Today we live in a nation of immigrants, and it shows.

But in recent years, a certain phenomenon has started taking the United States by storm. No, it’s not fútbol, and thankfully it’s not K-pop.

No, it’s a pasty, deceptively tasty spread with a history worth sharing.

Hummus. Oh, heavenly hummus.

It’s the best friend we never expected. It’s our saving grace from the tyranny of fatty dipping options. It’s the spread we needed but didn’t deserve. America is falling fast for hummus, and we’re here to tell you how it all began.