Many people, including yours truly, felt that Reddit was a confusing mess. We just didn’t find any comprehensive guide to Reddit either so we avoided the whole platform.
I get it, have you seen the main page on Reddit? It has small thumbnail pictures and whatnot with text and links. Even the posters don’t have profile pictures displayed and weird username like “funkyJakey223” and “MisterInfola”. “What’s with the weird links that lead to another Reddit page dedicated to a single thing?”, I thought. Turns out Reddit is popular for a good reason and is quite easy to use once you get familiar with how it works.
This is exactly the reason why this comprehensive guide to Reddit exists. Not only to make you at home with how the website works but also enable you to harness the information it provides. I dig subreddits that deal with conspiracy theories and spooky stories. However, Reddit is much more than some jump scares and reality scares!
I understand that it may feel a bit overwhelming at first. So let’s take it from the top, shall we!
What Is Reddit?
Reddit is a place where people from all over the internet share cool stuff with other people. That’s the main gist of it, people sharing stuff they find cool. Everyone’s definition of cool is different though, some find stock trading tips cool while others may find a cute cat yawning cooler.
Thankfully, Reddit has sub-categories called Subreddits to share things with like-minded people. For example, if you have an amazing video game easter egg to share, you can share it on r/videogames and show it to fellow gamers.
In short, Reddit is basically a global show and tell that allows people to share stuff they find interesting with other like minded people. Let’s dive in a bit deeper and see how the website works and how you can fully use it not only for your entertainment but also education and information gain.
One of the biggest differences between Reddit and other image sharing websites is the interactivity Reddit provides. While it is a bit simple when it comes to choices, you can certainly not only voice your concerns or opinions but also vote on your choices.
What does this all mean? On Reddit, you can upvote or downvote things depending on how much you like them. For example, if you see an amazing sunset picture and love it, you can press the upvote button and it will gain one positive vote. Similarly, if you don’t like anything, you can downvote it to show your displeasure.
The clever thing about Reddit is that it takes the total number of upvotes or positive votes into the count and raise the post you loved slightly above the others. This results in posts that gather a large number of positive votes to be displayed on top of all other content. This also allows bad content that amasses a larger number of downvotes to sink below into obscurity. A post’s score is the difference between the upvotes and downvotes. It is also a rough estimate because Reddit doesn’t want bots to ruin the system by automatic upvotes, so far it has been working great.
Reddit is a global website with a community to match. People share pictures, stories, videos, GIF images and everything in between. There are thousands of communities within the website as well so you are sure to find content that can fascinate you on there. This democratic way of rating the quality of the content allows the cream to rise above. It is a system that makes it easier for great posts to have better visibility.
As a user, you get to see the most epic stuff first and Reddit doesn’t have to do much work to bring it on the forefront either. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Reddit also tuned their algorithm to move out older posts regardless of how popular they are after some time.
The only downside is that you will have to make a Reddit account in order to participate in the voting system. Thankfully, it hardly takes a couple of minutes to register and start using Reddit.
Do you love snails? Or perhaps the second Borderlands game? Maybe spooky stories? Chances are you’ll be able to find a subreddit that dishes out content that you love. Even if there isn’t a subreddit about dogs walking on two legs, you can make one yourself if you want. Here is how we can break down the content available on Reddit:
Front Page: This is what you see when you first come to the website. If you haven’t logged in yet, you will still see posts that are popular from standard subreddits. However, if you already have an account and have subscribed to a couple of subreddits you love, you will see popular content from them here. It is like a Facebook timeline that is populated with way more interesting stuff than your friend Kate’s third Ford Focus.
Subreddits: Subreddits are pages dedicated to a certain thing. Mostly they are named after the thing itself. For example, r/piano is all about pianos and playing them. However, some don’t have exact names like r/nosleep is not about insomnia, it is about staying awake after reading a terrifying story.
All: The r/all page gets everything from everywhere and displays the best of the best at one place. This is what you visit when you just want to see what exciting stuff is going around the world.
This results in a content feed that is highly interesting to you personally. You don’t ever see the content you don’t want to see. I don’t like spiders very much and would like to avoid them, and thankfully I can do just that on Reddit. I do however love videogames so I’ve subscribed/followed several video game-related subreddits to make my front page show what I love.
The Near Anonymity
Reddit provides users with anonymity by not requiring any personal information. All you need is a username and password and you are good to go. This means you are not required to provide any identifying information in order to enjoy the platform.
With your privacy safe, you are free to like the stuff you really like and not feel any sort of peer pressure. You love Fortnite but you are afraid your real-life friends will make fun of you? That’s not even a problem on Reddit.
Having anonymity also makes people honest. This can be a good thing when voicing genuine opinions however, we all know trolls will make good use of this as well. Thankfully most subreddits have moderators who keep an eye on the community and step in when things get out of control. I’ll still advice you to remain vigilant because the moderators are all volunteers and cannot be everywhere all the time.
I’ve already elaborated on how amazing the subreddits can be but I haven’t talked about the sheer number of them. There are more than 1.2 million subreddits on the platform, that’s right 1.2 MILLION. This means no matter how niche your interests are, you are bound to find a subreddit that suits your tastes.
In March 2019, there were around 542 million visitors on Reddit. The numbers are astounding, to say the least. This means Reddit is a massive platform with millions of active users who are constantly contributing and sharing information.
Of course, there are some popular subreddits on the website. The subreddit r/announcements have 43 million-plus subscribers as of this writing. However, there are countless helpful subreddits with a smaller subscriber count but invaluable information.
I genuinely learned how to make a gaming PC thanks to Reddit. The community there was not only helpful but also took the time to explain the benefits of the parts I was selecting. It was truly a learning experience for me. Reddit has helped countless people in gaining knowledge and new skills as well.
This is a genuine question many people ask. Here are a few points that explain the usefulness of the platform:
Huge: The platform is huge, both in member numbers and also resources. It is incredibly filled with people who want to help as well as information that can help you with almost anything. From learning to play a musical instrument to actually making a music video, everything can be found on the platform.
New Perspectives: Reddit is a place where you can discuss your ideas and opinions with other people. This helps you gain new perspectives and further your knowledge. Want to know something about a city? Talk to the people who live there to gain authentic knowledge.
Great Content: With a democracy-like system implemented by Reddit, only the best of the best content rises to the top. You will get content that is geared towards your interests. With millions of users uploading new things daily, there is never a shortage of incredible finds to look at.
Just Read It
I hope this detailed guide on how Reddit works and how you can easily start using it will help you start your very own Reddit journey.
Now go on, sign up, subscribe to a few subreddits and start commenting. Who knows, we will find each other on a subreddit arguing about which superhero movie is the best there is (it’s Watchmen for the record). See you on Reddit!