What to Know About Reddit
I don’t claim to be an avid Reddit user, but I’m a big-time lurker when it comes to using it to pass time and browse content. There’s quite a lot of nuances to be learned on how to use the platform, but the biggest takeaway of Reddit is that it’s a community (made up of thousands of sub-communities) deciding what content is worth someone’s time and a place to have an open yet moderated discussion.
Reddit says it’s the “front page of the internet,” and truly that’s really what it is. Redditors upvote or downvote content posted by its users in real-time so popular content always ranks at the top. “Content” consists of anything a Redditor would like to share, from breaking news to a funny video or image to asking for advice or posting their latest thoughts about a certain topic.
In the past few years, Reddit has seen significant growth. It boasts being in the top five most visited websites in the U.S., with over 130K active communities, and 430M monthly active users. Slightly over half of their audience is between the ages of 13 to 34 years old, with 57 percent being male.
In order to understand the Reddit community, we need to dive into what it’s all about and how Redditors use the platform and engage with one another. Below, I’ve outlined the top ten major things to know about Reddit.
Each subreddit is a community focused on a topic or idea and has a naming convention of “r/”. For example, r/movies or r/funny. Subreddits have moderators, which are volunteers (not Reddit employees) who bear the responsibility to enforce Reddit rules and subreddit guidelines. This can consist of removing posts and banning users as they see fit. Admins are actual employees of Reddit and maintain the website and also enforce the community rules.
The culture of Reddit is extremely self-regulating. Reddiquette is the informal expression of values that Redditors abide by. You’ll pick them up the best once you’re in the weeds of all the posts within a different subreddit, but there’s a comprehensive etiquette list to bring you up to speed. Some of these include the best practices in how to post content, stating your reason for editing posts and explicitly marking it, and approaches to responding to content.
Karma is simply a way to measure contributions to Reddit. When a user posts or comments, the accumulation of upvotes a user gains is reflected in the amount of karma earned. Karma lets Reddit users build a reputation on the platform.
For those who want to go above and beyond Karma, Redditors can purchase coins to exchange for “Awards.” The awards can then be given to others on a post or comment with a visible badge. Think of these as an act of kindness to help make the community a better place. The awards also come with perks like more coins or Reddit Premium.
This is a $5.99 subscription membership offering benefits like an ad-free experience, monthly coins, exclusive access to subreddits, and special badges.
Sometimes it seems like Reddit only talks in acronyms and it’s a lot to keep up with, but it’s essential to know in order to understand the context of all the content. Some of the staple acronyms are:
AMA means “Ask me anything”
OC means “Original content”
OP means “Original poster”
TL;DR means “Too long; Didn’t read”
TIL means “Today I learned”
Within the Reddit App, you can shuffle between two different feeds. The Home Feed specifically shows you the subreddits you’ve joined and matters to you, while the Popular Feed will take into consideration all the communities across Reddit. The Popular Feed is labeled as the “front page of the internet.”
In the Popular Feed, you might see a post that is a live stream of Redditor playing music, cooking, creating art, or even working out. This is part of RPAN and what started as a little Reddit experiment turned into a full-time product. RPAN has a 45-minute time limit for each stream, but recently released a feature called ‘Feed the Meter,’ which allows viewers to award the streamers and ultimately increase the broadcast times.
Launched about four months ago, these chat rooms allow you to talk to other Redditors with similar interests in real-time. This differs from other social platforms, as the chat is used to make new connections.
One of the big moments on Reddit is the Secret Santa exchange, which had started in 2009. Last year, close to 200K internet strangers participated to give one another present in over 140 countries. Redditors sign up and are matched to another Redditor in a daisy chain manner through a gift exchange. It’s become a big part of the community culture to participate and share these moments of kindness across Reddit.
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These ten things about Reddit only scratch the surface, but it’s a great foundation of knowledge to get an idea of how it all works. I suggest that you download the app or browse the website from your laptop and start becoming a lurker like myself. Pick a handful of subreddits that really interest you and watch how Redditors interact with one another. If you’re looking to really gain Karma, start posting and joining the conversations. You’ll be surprised at what you learn from other Redditors!
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