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What Is Reddit & How To Use It

According to Alexa Rankings, Reddit ranks as the No. 5 most visited website in the U.S. and No. 13 in the world, with 55% of its user base coming from the United States as of July 2019. 

If you spend a lot of your time browsing the web, chances are you’ve heard of Reddit. The site proudly calls itself “the front page of the internet,” and we agree.

Reddit has grown in popularity by creating a social network that allows people with similar interests to discuss and share relevant content and essentially curate the best web content through voting.

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Even though it’s one of the most popular websites in the world, it can be a bit confusing to most, especially to first time users. The user interface is kind of old school and there are a ton of rules, symbols, and jargon one needs to understand before finally start getting the hang of the platform. 

Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we are going to see what Reddit actually is, how it works, and how you can start using it like a pro! So without further ado, let’s get started…

What is Reddit?

Reddit is a social sharing site that allows users to submit, discuss, and vote on content shared on the platform, founded by the University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian way back in 2005. 

Anyone can add a link to a news article, blog post, video, images, GIFS, or anything else, and discuss the content by commenting. Users are also given the option to upvote or downvote content, based on how useful, entertaining, or news-worthy the post is.

Reddit icon's gif

The more upvotes a certain piece of content gets, the higher it climbs on the website, finally resulting in showing on the front page of Reddit. Since only the most upvoted (or liked) content make it to the front page, Reddit is nicknamed “the front page of the internet“.

Reddit essentially is a culmination of a large number of forums where people can discuss anything- from politics, news, literature, to movies, music, and reality TV. These various forums are known as Subreddits. 

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How Popular is Reddit? 

To say Reddit is a popular website would be a massive understatement. Take a look at Reddit’s user stats for 2020: 

  • In the United States, 26.4 million people are using Reddit monthly
  • Reddit accounted for 1.6 billion visits between February 2018 to March 2019
  • According to data submitted by Reddit itself, their monthly active users have grown from 250 million in 2017 to 330 million in 2018. 
  • 42 percent of U.S. Internet users, between 18 to 24 years old, are using Reddit
  • An average user spends 16 minutes consuming content on Reddit before logging off
  • 69% of U.S. Reddit users are male
  • 168 billion pages were viewed on Reddit in 2018

What is a Subreddit? 

Reddit is huge. A ton of content is shared by its millions of users on a daily basis. This plethora of content can create chaos in the system, especially if you want to consume a particular type of content (say sports). Thus, Reddit is broken into millions of communities knows as “subreddits,” each of which covers a distinct topic. 

The name of any subreddit begins with r/, a Reddit jargon which is part of the URLs that Reddit uses to make it easy to navigate to a particular web page. For example, a subreddit for the topic “r/Apple” is a community where Apple enthusiasts discuss Apple devices and software, news, rumors, or anything concerned with Apple company. 

Bill gates with a man dressed as reddit's icon gif

Similarly, r/movies is a subreddit where people talk about and share movie news, trivia, award shows, basically anything related to the movies. 

There are more than 138,000 active subreddits that you can join, read content, and participate in. While some subreddits are free to join, there also exist some private subreddits which require an admittance process.

In order to personalize your Reddit feed, you can subscribe to any subreddits and their most popular posts will appear on your front page. 

How to Use Reddit? 

If Reddit sounds like a cool place to hang out, then it’s time to get yourself a Reddit account.

  • Signup by going to the signup button on the top right of the Reddit homepage. 

Preview for signing up on reddit

  • Next, you are asked to enter your email id, choose a username and password, and verify you are not a bot. You can also create multiple accounts under different usernames and choose which one to log in with. Maybe you don’t want to crowd your Reddit feed by subscribing to a ton of subreddits. In that case, creating multiple usernames with different subreddit subscriptions can streamline your browsing experience. 

 Enter email for creating account on reddit

  • Once you’re signed in, Reddit will provide you with suggestions on how to find popular communities you might be interested in. Once subscribed to these subreddits, the main page of Reddit will switch from popular posts to your own personalized home page comprising of popular content from subreddits you are subscribed to. 

Preview for joining reddit communities

To make your browsing experience better, Reddit has the option to group similar subreddits into “multi-reddits.” For example, if you like Football and are following the subreddit r/football, along with individual teams like r/RealMadrid and players like r/Christiano Ronaldo, you can group all these individual subreddits into a football multi-reddit and get all your football news and updates in a more streamlined manner. 

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Which Subreddits Should I Join? 

You can use the Reddit search box at the top and search for your favorite topic. In the search results, move the cursor to the “communities and users” tab and you can see the top subreddits for that particular topic. You can then click the blue ‘Join’ button on the right of every subreddit. 

Reddit community dashboard

According to the website Redditlist.com, the top five most popular subreddits (excluding the No. 1 general r/announcements) are:

  1.  r/funny with 25.3 million subscribers
  2. r/AskReddit (23.5 million)
  3. r/gaming (22.8 million)
  4. r/pics (22.3 million)
  5. r/science (21.8 million)

If you are not sure about which subreddits to join, you can start by following these top 5 most popular subreddits that can kickstart your Reddit journey. 

What is Reddit Karma?

Anyone can use Reddit to share a piece of content or a link. However, this often leads to people sharing stuff over and over again, especially if the content is created by them or the company they work for in order to get more views and eyeballs on it.

To help monitor the site and prevent spammers from bombarding readers with unwanted content, Reddit introduced something called “karma” points.

Reddit karma points gif

Users get these karma points when their comments and content links are up-voted by others in the community. If users like your contribution to a particular topic or subreddit, they give your content an upvote, earning you karma points.

However, if you spam and post unrelated content to Reddit, you get down-voted consistently by other users. 

This signals Reddit that you are not positively contributing to the platform and are also creating a bad browsing experience for others. Although you are still allowed to browse the site freely, Reddit then begins to limit how often you are able to submit content to the site. 

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Bonus: Reddit Jargon for You to Understand

If you are new to Reddit, which you possibly are since you are reading this blog post, you are bound to encounter a ton of internet slangs and acronyms which you might not be familiar with. Below are some of the most common ones to help you out: 

  • Cakeday: The day you joined Reddit is your Cakeday, aka your “Reddit birthday.” On your cakeday, you’ll see a cake icon next to your username.
  • TL;DR: TL;DR means – Too long; didn’t read. Usually, at the end of a long post, TL;DR is used to give a short summary of a long post in case people don’t want to read the entire content.
  • AMA: AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. AMA’s are often present on the subreddit /r/AMA, which hosts question-and-answer sessions with notable people from all spheres of the world.
  • Crosspost: Crosspost indicates that the user has posted this content on another subreddit in addition to the current one. 
  • ELI5: This stands for ‘Explain Like I’m Five’! When you don’t understand a piece of content fully, you can use this to request someone to explain something simply. It’s also a famous subreddit, /r/explainlikeimfive.
  • Mod: A Mod is a subreddit’s moderator. The job of a moderator is to make sure that the subreddit remains under control by stopping spammy users from posting and keeping the subreddit within the guidelines. 

How to Post on Reddit?

Creating a post on Reddit is a simple yet sophisticated process. Users can click the Create Post button on the right side of the screen to submit a link or other content at any time.

Reddit community dashboard display for creating a post

Click the button and you will be asked to choose whether you want to submit a text post, image/video, or a link. After adding your content, you are required to submit a title describing the post. 

Preview of adding title to your reddit post

Below your content box, you are given a few tags that you can add to your post to make it more descriptive and searchable. These include:

  • OC: OC stands for Original Content and means that what you’re posting is your original content. 
  • Spoiler: Adding this tag to your post blurs the preview image on the post if there is one.
  • NSFW: NFSW stands for Not Safe for Work. This tag signifies the presence of explicit content that people wouldn’t want to view in their office or any public place. 
  • Flair: Flair allows you to provide more information on your post. Although, this tag is not allowed in all subreddits. 

Click ‘submit’ and your post will go live on the subreddit after some time.

Final Words…

Reddit has got a lot of awesome content that is updated daily on the platform. The ability to collectively upvote and downvote – coupled with karma points, ensures that only the best of the best content rises to the top. Simply subscribe to topics you are interested in and jump right in. Happy Redditing!

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