Reddit is emerging as a true force on the Internet, which explains its inclusion in our list of wonders of the Web. It’s a source for news and interesting factoids, the instigator of many memes, the popularizing force of many viral videos, and an all-round entertaining place to hang out online. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone, though there will inevitably be some people who decide it isn’t for them.
I’ve been a lurker at Reddit for a long time, mainly using Scroll Reddit to keep the content manageable. But I recently took the plunge and actually created a user account in order to vote content up and down, post comments, and perhaps even submit my own content for perusal.
The first day as a new Redditor is kind of like your first day at a new school or in a new job. There are a lot of people all eyeing you up suspiciously, and you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be doing. In other words, there’s a distinct learning curve. What follows are five key pieces of wisdom that should help all new Reddit users find their feet.
Edit Your Experience
Reddit is highly customizable, so everyone’s Reddit experience is unique to that individual. You’re presented with an account sporting the default settings and subreddits, but a little tinkering can transform your usage of the site in a major way. This is the first thing you should do, and something you should return to every so often.
Start by clicking on ‘Preferences’ and adjusting all of the various options to suit your own personal needs and wants. Then click on ‘Edit’ in the top right-hand corner in order to adjust which subreddits make up your front page. For now just unsubscribe from those that don’t interest you… finding subreddits that do will happen over time.
TL;DR: Make Reddit your own in order to gain more from the site.
Take Your Time
Patience has long been seen as an important virtue to possess, and that’s just as true online as it is in the real world. In terms of Reddit it’s the key to not making an epic mistake which will put you off returning to the site, or, at the very least, see you wanting to create an alternate account.
Most people will want to make their mark on Reddit as soon as possible, either by commenting on an existing post or creating their own. While there is nothing wrong with this approach it may lead to you reposting content that has already appeared on the site or otherwise blotting your copybook.
Before you do anything of note, acclimatize yourself with Reddit and the way it works. Visit the wiki, read the FAQs, and take note of the Reddiquette. Also make sure you know what the various acronyms mean and understand what the current memes represent. Then and only then should you dive right in to the action.
TL;DR: Understand what you’re doing before you do it.
Commenting is the lifeblood of Reddit. If no one commented the site would be a dry, dull place with random content being thrown around for no good reason. The comments are where most of the action happens; where news events are discussed, images dissected, and new tangential conversations are started and finished on a whim.
Most comments on Reddit have a purpose. They will add something to the conversation, be witty enough to make someone reading it laugh, or make a serious point worth noting. Follow that lead, thinking about what you’re writing and why you’re writing it. Don’t be rude, ignorant, or otherwise trollish.
TL;DR: Don’t be that person, you know the one.
Disheartened By Downvotes
Voting is the other key component of Reddit, sitting alongside comments as the oil that keeps the wheels turning. You can hand out upvotes and downvotes to posts and comments as you see fit, and in return everything you do on the site will be subject to the same judgments.
Downvotes should be used sparingly, only being applied to posts, links, and comments you really don’t appreciate for whatever reason. In the same way that (in real life) praising people when they do well gets better results than criticizing every little thing they do wrong, upvotes are a better use of your time than downvotes.
TL;DR: Be positive rather than negative with your votes.
Ignore The Idiots
Like any online community, Reddit has its idiots. They may not think they’re idiots but they are. These are the people who insult and ridicule people they take a disliking to, who cast more downvotes than upvotes, who spend their time bitching from the sidelines rather than playing the game fairly.
The same rule applies to these people on Reddit as it does everywhere else across the InterWebs. Ignore them. They want attention, they want you to react, they want to cause arguments and aggravation. Don’t help them on their way by rising to the bait. Instead just rise above it all.
TL;DR: Trolls and troublemakers only triumph when you feed their egos.
This is only intended as a rough guide for those just starting out on their Reddit adventure. It should get you through the first day, but to prosper beyond that you should read the MakeUseOf guide to Reddit by Dave LeClair. You’d also do well to read 5 things you should know about Reddit, learn about the unwritten rules for posting to Reddit, and take heed of Danny’s informative suggestions on how to use Reddit like an old pro.
Are you on Reddit already? If not, what is preventing you from creating an account and immersing yourself in this world of cute cats and memorable memes? If you create an account after reading this article and find the Reddit tips and tricks contained within useful, please let us know in the comments section below.