What is Reddit? Or, Why I Ditched The Mainstream Media And Turned To Reddit For My News – A brief primer on what Reddit is and why you need it in your life…
I’ve been a user of Reddit for a long time now. I love the platform, the way its setup, and the fact you can find a subreddit for just about anything.
And I really do mean ANYTHING.
In 2021, one of the things that regularly blows my mind is that a lot of people I meet or get to know have never heard of Reddit. How? Reddit is basically the best thing on the internet.
Whatever you’re interested in – be it Formula One, Magick, Taylor Swift, Model Train Building, Running, Satanism, or Crafting, as well as an entire universe of NSFW content – there will be a dedicated and lively subreddit packed with nutters just like you.
And I really do mean it: there is literally a subreddit for EVERYTHING – even the nichest of niche interests and hobbies.
Reddit breaks news before most major news sites too. Most major news publications have dedicated teams whose sole job is trawling Reddit for interesting stories and events.
For news junkies, Reddit is a goldmine. The front-page alone is basically tomorrow’s headlines published a day early.
Once you’re fully-versed in Reddit’s delights, you will A) never watch the news again, B) rarely visit actual news sites, and C) develop a host of new hobbies and interests.
What is Reddit?
Reddit calls itself the front page of the internet. Designed as a way for people to share information, Reddit has grown dramatically over the years.
It has tens of millions of users, hundreds of thousands of subreddits, and it is always growing. Often, stories break on Reddit before they hit the major news networks and channels. For me, this is one of Reddit’s #1 benefits.
Like Twitter, it is an almost real-time snap-shot of all the major events currently shaping the world.
And it doesn’t matter what you’re interested in, either. There will be a subreddit just for you, packed full of people that share content and things you will probably want to know about.
Got a leaky pipe in your cellar? Can’t afford a plumber? Get yourself onto the plumbing subreddit and ask for some advice. Within the hour, you’ll be swimming in information and advice from, potentially, hundreds of experienced people.
Reddit isn’t just a link-dumping site. Mostly it’s about the discussion. Someone posts a link, say, First Impressions of New iPhone 11 Camera, and then members of the subreddit basically dive in and ask questions.
Arguments are common, especially in places like r/Politics, but that’s kind of to be expected – people love arguing about politics. Mostly, though, Reddit is packed with nice folk. I’ve been using it daily since about 2016 and I’ve never once encountered anybody that I would call a douchebag.
How Reddit Works
Reddit might look pretty complicated when you first open it up. But it is actually really simple. Reddit is available as an app on iPhone and Android, or you can access it via your PC/Mac’s browser.
People find content – news articles, videos, original posts – and share them inside subreddits. These “posts” are then upvoted or downvoted by other Reddit users.
If a post gets thousands of upvotes, it hits the Reddit homepage and this causes what is known as The Reddit Effect – more on this in a bit.
What Are Subreddits?
As I mentioned, Reddit is organized around subreddits, which are basically interest-based forums contained within the main Reddit site.
Each subreddit has a team of moderators attached to it, and these guys oversee the subreddit and ensure everything is kosher. There is literally a subreddit for everything – just go to Reddit and type in some of your interests.
You’ll find a multitude of active subreddits dedicated to it.
The 12 Biggest Subreddits on Reddit
What are the biggest Subreddits on Reddit? As of right now, the following 12 subreddits are the biggest subreddit communities on Reddit.
- funny — 19,895,474 subscribers
- AskReddit — 19,510,110
- todayilearned — 18,981,496
- worldnews — 18,977,231
- Science — 18,932,710
- pics — 18,886,430
- gaming — 18,413,642
- IAmA — 18,097,375
- videos — 17,973,194
- movies — 17,824,982
- aww — 17,433,245
- Music — 17,051,188
What is Karma on Reddit? How It Works & How To Get More…
Reddit Karma shows how much a user has contributed to the Reddit community. Generally speaking, the more you post and share (and comment), the more Reddit Karma you earn.
Of course, you can’t just post any old thing – it has to be useful and engaging. If you post gets loads of upvotes and comments, you will earn Reddit Karma which is applied and viewable on your profile.
In order to get more Reddit Karma, you have to helpful, post stuff that is generally interesting, and create engaging posts that people will love. This is why the people with the most Reddit Karma tend to be those that spend the longest amount of time planning and writing their posts.
How Big is Reddit? These Reddit Stats Will Blow Your Mind…
Reddit is MASSIVE. In 2015, Reddit generated 82.54 BILLION page-views. Keep in mind that there is only around 9 billion people on Earth at the moment. Need more Reddit stats? Check out these awesome little factoids below:
- 26+ Millions Americans Use Reddit Monthly – Every month, around 26 million Americans use Reddit. This figure comes from eMarketer, which classes an active user as someone that has an account and logs in at least once a month.
- Young People Power Reddit – According to a large study, Reddit’s biggest and fastest growing demographic in the US is 18-24 year olds. According to the data, around 42% of 18-24 year olds in the US regularly use Reddit.
- Average Time Spent on Reddit – How long do you normally spend on Facebook or Instagram? A few minutes? 30 seconds? Reddit’s engagement times destroy what other platforms do. The average Redditor spends around 16 minutes on the platform per session, according to Reddit’s own data.
- Link Out Lots – Posts that use external links are the most popular time of content on Reddit. This is why a lot of big stories break first on Reddit. Similarly, posts with title tags of 120 characters or less tend to be the most upvoted, so keep your titles short and punchy.
As of February 2018, Reddit had 542 million monthly visitors (234 million unique users). 57.4% of its users come from the US, followed by the UK at 7.5% and Canada at 6.3%.
Basically, it’s a big deal.
The Reddit Effect – Reddit Can Kill Your Blog (In Seconds)
The Reddit Effect is a term created to describe how smaller websites’ servers are crushed by large influxes of traffic from Reddit.
Example: say you run a small blog that is hosted on a basic, cheap server. You write a post and get onto the front page of Reddit.
Then, about 10 million people try to view it…
Your server collapses and your site goes offline. This is the Reddit Effect. This is why blogs and websites NEED good hosting; if a post goes viral and millions of people try and visit your site, you need a hosting platform that can handle it.
What Are Reddit AMAs? And, Yes, Obama Really Did Do One…
One of the coolest things about Reddit is its AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions.
Barack Obama has done one, and so too has a bunch of other important leaders, celebrities, musicians and film directors.
How it works is simple: AMAs take place in a subreddit, and users can ask the person doing an AMA anything they want.
These AMAs are hugely popular and have generated plenty of breaking news over the years. Everybody from Bill Gates to Woody Harrelson and Snoop Dog has done one and they’re always really interesting and engaging.
If you want to find the best AMAs to date on Reddit, go to the r/IAmA/ subreddit and sort the AMAs by Best > All Time. This will show you the most popular AMAs of all time.
Why I Use Reddit
Simple: I love information. And I like finding out new things, and for this Reddit is basically unbeatable. If you’re developing an interest in something new, say, fitness or eating healthier, then you’ll be able to find a TON of information from people who are already doing it.
You can chat with them, ask questions, post your progress, findings, or your own, personal insights. I’ve joined hundreds of subreddits over the years, and to-date I haven’t had any negative experiences.
As long as you stick to the subreddit rules, most people on Reddit are friendly and welcoming. Just make sure you read the subreddit rules before you start posting.
For instance, I am mad about F1. And since about 2016, I’ve been getting 100% of my F1 information via Reddit. I read posts, I talk to fellow F1 fans and upvote anything that’s useful.
The same goes for the r/running subreddit. It’s great. And since I’ve started running, next to YouTube, it has become one of my most valuable resources for information.
If you’re not using Reddit, stop what you’re doing now, and sign-up for an account. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Is it better than Facebook and Instagram? Let me put it this way: Reddit is like having drinks with Ernest Hemingway. In comparison, Facebook and Instagram is like hanging out with an emo teenager that thinks they know everything despite having never left the state they live in.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.