What is Reddit & Why Should I Care?

Have you heard of Reddit but haven’t checked it out yet? Are you wondering, “What is Reddit and how would it be beneficial to me?” Hopefully this post will elucidate the Reddit “social news website” and how to use it!

What Is Reddit?

I know a lot about social media, but until recently I wasn’t too familiar with Reddit. I had heard of the site, but never really understood it, so I was motivated to take a deeper look. I started with Wikipedia which told me Reddit is a “social news website.” It says that users, dubbed Redditors, have the option to submit links to content on the Internet or submit ‘self’ posts that contain original, user-submitted text. Redditors can also comment on posts and reply to other commentators, creating a conversation. Posts appear in a certain order on the website because of a combination of three factors: age, positive vs. negative feedback and total vote count.

In my exploration of the Reddit site, I found it certainly wasn’t easy to understand just from looking at the homepage layout. Reddit allows users to create communities called “reddits” (often referred to as “subreddits”), which focus on specific interests or organizations. There are over 67,000 of them, with some of the most popular categories being “pics,” “programming,” “science” and “trees.”

After reading up on Reddit, I decided to poke around the site a bit, clicking on the first and most popular link, entitled “Why is it when we have to pay a bill, we have a due date with penalties if we are late; When the company owes us money they can take their sweet time.” When I clicked on it, I got what I assumed would end up being countless pages of posts and comments. I didn’t understand how comments were organized, and most of them seemed unrelated –  and some were even inappropriate.

Ok, admittedly not a great experience so far…

I went on to search “horses” to see if I could understand the content better, and I slowly started to get it. Under my search of horses, everything posted in Reddit was aggregated onto one page—posts, pictures, questions, articles, status updates and videos, all relating to horses. It was all where I could see it, and it had all been vetted by others with interest in horses.

How to Use Reddit

I can definitely see how Reddit would be helpful when researching public opinion of a topic, or when trying to find links to content about something a little off the beaten path. It also refers to itself as the “front page of the Internet,” which it is, if you don’t mind seeing ALL the topics EVERYONE is talking about from Chili Bowls to busting their neighbor’s party to their dog’s new haircut.

My overall take on Reddit? Cool concept – the crowd as the editor. But the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The site is begging for a re-architecture and redesign to make it more user-friendly and easier to navigate.

Why Should You Care About Reddit?

Reddit has developed into a tight knit community of users who visit the site often and love to share. If you have something thoughtful, unique and valuable to share with this community, there’s a high likelihood your message will spread quickly. The good news, and why you should care: if you play your marketing skills and cards right, Reddit can help an idea, snippet of content or website of yours go viral.

A word of advice, though: if you are merely posting for promotional reasons, Redditors will most definitely sniff you out and shoot you down. Redditors want you contribute to their community and will celebrate and promote users who do so, giving them better “karma” and therefore boosting their posts higher in rank on the site. However, if your post is not contributing something new or offering a worthy opinion to someone else’s post, your “karma” is sure to go down, eliminating any opportunity for your post (or future posts) to spread.

To put things simply? Like Twitter, Reddit can be a good social media tool but only if used correctly!