Self-styled as ‘The front page of the Internet’, reddit is a social media/news aggregator and forum. People from around the world post links to just about anything (and I mean ANYTHING) from cat pics to serious political topics. Contentious matters may be tagged [NSFW] (i.e. Not Suitable For Work) and are definitely not for the faint-hearted. There is now a Content Policy and reddit will ban users and delete content that violates this code.
There’s no two ways about it, reddit can feel like the internet version of the wild west, and the design of it is looks like it was knocked up 10 mins before the hand-in deadline, by someone who hates design. However, the simplicity of it, and the freedom it facilitates, its worldwide reach, and uninhibited access is arguably everything that is good and powerful about social media and the web.
reddit statistics gathered at the end of 2016:
- 234 million unique users
- 853,824 subreddits
- 11,464 active communities
- 217 countries with users
- 8 billion page views
- 25 million votes
Users, who are anonymous, can choose to upvote or downvote posts, and the most popular posts will rise to the Front Page. In addition to voting, users can comment on posts but be warned, as with all public forums, a fairly high proportion of users are puerile trolls and you may encounter some unpleasant attitudes (NB Don’t feed the trolls – i.e. do not argue with them, just ignore them). This is despite the rules of Reddiquette. Users may also flag a thread as [SERIOUS], which usually keeps away the trolls.
reddit is divided/organised into ‘subreddits’ which are dedicated forums for specific interests.
‘So what has this got to do with my work?’
The power of reddit can arguably be boiled down to these three things:
- Information – there’s so much that can be gained from the ‘hive mind‘
- Debate – debating in ‘serious’ subreddits can be beneficial to everyone.
- Contact – you can benefit from being in contact with people wanting to talk about the same things, whether they are just interested parties, or top professionals in any subject and area of life, from astronauts to film stars, scientists and businesses people.
Finding useful information
Filtering information is primarily achieved by browsing and/or subscribing to subreddits. The subreddits to which I have subscribed include Higher Education, Cambridge (the city rather than the university), politics, science, world news, ARU, and baking (I like cakes!).
By subscribing and unsubscribing to subreddits, including education-related topics, you can tailor the information you receive. As a registered user you can submit a new link, submit a new text post, or, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, create your own subreddits!
To help you get started we’ve put together a list of subreddits (links below), the links take you to subreddits specifically focused on those areas.
Find something in reddit that is useful or interesting to you in your job, and copy the URL into the the comments section of this blog post – even better if you describe why it’s useful to you.