Reddit. It’s probably something you’ve heard reference to many times over the past few years and, if you’re like me, you’ve visited the site many times and simply gone “Good God, that that’s the ugliest site I’ve ever seen” and given up even trying to figure it out. Or perhaps you’ve heard nothing more than it’s a cesspool of filth.
I’m here to tell you that, after finally giving it a serious chance, I’ve realized that Reddit is one of the most useful resources on the web. (Very) simply put, Reddit is a bulletin board with the added, entirely optional, function of “upvoting” or “downvoting” individual posts based on how good they are (anybody remember digg.com?). That’s basically it.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions to help you get off the ground:
- Ignore the fact that it’s the most butt-ugly thing you’ve ever seen
This doesn’t really need much explanation, but don’t make the same mistake I made and write it off because it appears to be completely indecipherable. Hang in there.
- Create an account for yourself and then use the main page’s search field to look for a topic of interest
This will yield you two sets of results: a short list of relevant subreddits – subreddits are essentially bulletin board topics – and posts across the entire service that have your search criteria in them. Focus on the subreddit results and select whichever one sounds the most relevant.
- Subscribe to your first subreddit
If you decide that the subreddit you’ve discovered is worth keeping an eye on then subscribe to it. You’ll typically find the subscribe button somewhere near the top of the right-side sidebar. Note that the admins of any subreddit have the ability to add a good amount of customization to their subreddits, so they don’t always appear exactly the same. An easy place to get confused is that fact that some subreddits have subscribe buttons that look like this:
while others look like this:
- Subscribe to some other relevant subreddits
Take a closer look at the right-side navbar of that subreddit you just subscribed to – you’ll notice that they list a handful of other potentially relevant subreddits, as well – go check some of those out and subscribe to them, as well.
- Group your subscribed reddits into multireddits
If you subscribe to enough subreddits then you’ll probably find the ability to group similar ones together very useful – this is called a multireddit. The easiest way to start a new multireddit is when you subscribe to a subreddit – a pop-up box will appear giving you the ability to add your newly-subscribed-to subreddit either an existing multireddit or to create a new one to add it to.
- Read the latest posts from all of your subscribed subreddits
Now that you’ve subscribed to some subreddits, you can visit the “Front” page (your default view when you visit reddit.com; link can also be found on the top navbar) to see a newsfeed of all of the most recent posts to the various subreddits you’ve subscribed to. Additionally, if you’ve created multireddits then you’ll now see tabs along the left side of the Front page for each of your multireddits so you can see all of those most recent posts!
With a well-curated collection of subreddits, you’ll find that Reddit is an amazing resource where you can learn from others with the same specific interests as yourself. One of the most refreshing aspects of the Reddit system is that it’s rare to see a conversation devolve in to name calling and juvenile idiocy – between the fact that most reddits are moderated by dedicated, enthusiastic users and the fact that, typically, the only people who will visit a particular reddit are those who are actually interested in its topic matter, the conversation is almost always engaging, positive and informative.
What’s more, you can find ANY topic on Reddit – from cooking to travel to travel photo “porn” to career advice. Just do a little digging and you’ll be amazed at what you find!
- Be sure to grab a mobile app to more easily view and manage your Reddit account from your mobile device. As of this writing, Alien Blue, the more-or-less official app, is the best of them for iOS, while Sync for reddit is top of the heap for Android devices.
- Do yourself a favor and occasionally visit the Explore tab (on the left side of your screen, above your multireddit tabs) – you can filter the potential results (like eliminate the NSFW content) and often find new subreddits of interest that you never would’ve considered searching for on your own!
In case you’re interested, here are a few multireddits I’ve curated that I really enjoy:
Special thanks to @grahamspector for helping me crack this nut!