by DANNY RUBIN
You may not know the name Aaron Swartz, but you definitely know his impact.
Ever seen one of these icons?
It’s the symbol for an RSS feed, or Really Simple Syndication. RSS feeds are a way to show content without having to visit the actual site to get it. At just 14, Swartz helped to develop the software that created RSS feeds. Last Friday, at 26, authorities say he committed suicide in his Brooklyn apartment.
Swartz was awaiting trial for stealing 5 million articles from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Since his death, many tech luminaries have written about the boy wonder and his contributions to the Internet.
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, tweeted:
“Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.”
What Aaron Swartz Means for All of Us
Swartz also co-founded Reddit, which has grown into one of the largest social media sites on the planet. In December 2011, the site had two billion page views. Reddit allows users to submit content and then have the community vote ‘up’ or ‘down’ on its popularity.
Reddit has all kinds of categories: Funny, Politics, Gaming, Aww, Technology, Movies, etc…
There’s also an interesting careers section that everyone should check out.
A few recent threads:
To join the discussion, you need to be a member on Reddit, which is easy (see the ‘want to join?’ box in the top right). You don’t need to be a registered user if you only want to read.
Officials will now investigate Swartz’s death to determine why he took his own life. The impending trial, potential prison time and a history of depression (which he wrote about on his blog) may have all contributed.
With RSS feeds, Swartz took the Web from a static environment to one that lets us to share content seamlessly. With Reddit, he built a community for people to laugh, play and solve life’s tricky issues.
Although Swartz died at only 26, the prodigy leaves behind a lifetime of accomplishments.
Do you already use Reddit? What do you like about it? What are your favorite topic pages?
Want news every day that makes you better — just by reading it?
It’s the smartest way to stay current.
© 2013, Danny Rubin
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