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What is Reddit and how to use it

Crowdsourced search results in action.
By
August 22, 2022

There are so many social networks online that it can be hard to keep up, and some have more staying power than others. Remember the ill-fated Google Plus? One site which has outlasted a lot of others, and is still going strong, is Reddit. Billed as the “front page of the internet,” what is Reddit really though? What is its purpose, and how do you get started on it?

Read more: Reddit is a social network and is the best one out there

QUICK ANSWER

Reddit is a site broken up into various sub-sites, called subreddits. Each subreddit is on a specific niche topic, to which you can subscribe. People can post web links to the subreddit, vote those links up and down, and comment on them. By voting each link submission up and down, the most popular links rise to the top, while the least popular get “buried." Those who post good links and comments can earn “karma" points.


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What is Reddit?

reddit front page

Reddit is a site that may — or may not — be a social network, depending on your point of view. It is separated into almost 140,000 mini-sites, called subreddits, and each subreddit is about a specific niche topic. People can post relevant web links, texts, videos, and images to these subreddits, and subscribers to the subreddit can vote each one up (if they like it) or vote them down (if they don’t like it.) This is definitely a good example of crowdsourced search results because what you see has been voted there by the users. You can also vote each comment up and down. Many people also use Reddit as a source of information, searching within subreddits for specific information they’re hoping comes from an expert.

You should be warned, though, that there is a lot of NSFW adult pornography on the site, so if you have an underage child looking at Reddit, you should make sure they are not looking at anything they shouldn’t be. Some of the adult subreddits on the site are extremely graphic.

Reddit is a site that represents so many different viewpoints, and users can often detect news and trends long before anyone else. It’s for that reason that a lot of subreddit threads are reported on other sites as news, and many questions posted to Reddit actually spark deep thought and discussion.

When did Reddit start?

2005 Reddit

Reddit was founded on June 23, 2005, by Steve Huffman, Aaron Swartz, and Alex Ohanian. Based in San Francisco, it has approximately 700 employees and generates north of $100 million a year in advertising, promoted links, and a paid premium membership of Reddit. As of December 2021, the company’s value was estimated to be $10 billion.

What is a subreddit?

Let’s now take a look at a subreddit and how it works. Since this is Android Authority, it is appropriate and perhaps obligatory that we take a look at the Android subreddit. Anyone can create a subreddit, though growing it might be pretty tough.

android subreddit

The blue Join button is always at the top of the page (clicking Join subscribes you to all future page updates in your main Reddit feed — more on that later.) In the menu on the right, you can see how many members the subreddit has (in this case, 2.3 million), and 858 are online at this very moment.

The submitted links are listed on the left, along with the up and down voting arrows, the number of “up” votes each one has, and the number of comments. There’s also something called “flairs” which are pretty much just filter tags.

reddit flairs

You can also see Related Communities to continue subscribing to things you’re interested in. Reddit really is the proverbial rabbit hole that you can fall into and never get out of.

reddit related communities

When you see something you’re interested in, click on the headline, and it opens up fully. Imgur is an image hosting service, and people regularly use it for screenshots and other images they want to show.

reddit android post

If you scroll down, you will see the comments, and if you’re signed in with an account, you can leave a comment too.

reddit android comments

Who uses Reddit?

celebrity AMA

A wide variety of demographics use Reddit. Young and old alike flock to it because there is literally something for everyone there. If you have a niche interest, chances are there is a subreddit for it, or if not, you can create a subreddit of your own for free.

Since Reddit attracts so many people from so many diverse backgrounds, politicians and celebrities are drawn to it, especially in the Ask Me Anything (AMA) subreddit. For them, it’s an easy way to promote themselves and their projects. For Reddit users, they get the chance to ask their favorite VIPs their burning questions. It’s a win-win for everyone. Notable VIPs who have appeared on Reddit include Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Elon Musk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and President Barack Obama.

Another group of people who are extremely keen on Reddit is journalists because they can find story leads and quotes. For example, I constantly monitor the subreddits for Android, iOS, Google, and many more.

How to sign up on Reddit

If all of this so far has piqued your interest, it’s time to sign up for an account. On the main Reddit page, go to the top right and click Sign up. You can either sign up with an email address or a Google or Apple account.

reddit signup

There’s no limit to the number of Reddit accounts you can make, although each one must have a unique email address attached to it. Many people make “throwaway accounts” to post and comment anonymously on Reddit.

Read more: How to delete a Reddit account

How to post on Reddit

Now we turn to posting something on Reddit. But you should be aware of some ground rules before you do.

  • No spam posting (posting the same link over and over in either the same subreddit or multiple subreddits).
  • No posts which are defamatory or promote hatred and intolerance.
  • No self-promotional posts. For example, if I posted this article, I would be heavily criticized by users for self-promoting my work. If somebody else promoted it, that would be OK. But self-promotion is a big no-no.

Assuming the link, image, video, or text you want to submit does not violate these rules, go to the most relevant subreddit. So for this article about King Arthur, I would go to a history subreddit.

history subreddit

Click Create Post at the top of the page to be taken to the submission page.

reddit submission
  • Add a descriptive title (no linkbait type title, though).
  • Choose what type of post you’re submitting. In this case, it’s a link.
  • Specify if it’s a spoiler, NSFW, and choose a “flair.” (a tag that describes what the link is about.)
  • When it’s ready, click Post.

In a lot of cases, your submission won’t appear on Reddit until a subreddit moderator looks at it and approves it. There are a lot of things you can do within a Reddit post; you can add spoilers to text, quote other Reddit comments or posts, or even post something from one subreddit into another.

What are some of the most popular Reddits?

aww subreddit

Excluding adult subreddits, the top five most popular ones, as of August 2022, are :


Read more: 10 best Reddit apps for Android

FAQs

Reddit is as safe as any other social network. In other words, exercise caution about what you reveal about yourself on the site.

TLDR means “too long, didn’t read” and is usually placed before a one-line summary of a particularly long text.

The most popular subreddit is Announcements, followed by Funny.

Yes, there is Reddit Premium, which costs $49.99 a year. You get exclusive perks such as no ads, a members lounge to chat in, customize your avatar, and a few other things. More features are said to be coming soon.

The Reddit Enhancement Suite is a free browser extension that adds extra functionality to Reddit. Its features are too many to list here, but the most notable ones include an account switcher, live comment preview, inline image viewer, and a “never-ending Reddit,” which keeps the page loading as you scroll down the page.