While it has been slowly creeping into the online consciousness for quite some time, Reddit really exploded on the scene about two years ago. It all started before that point, when Digg redesigned their site and it proved to be the nail in the coffin for many users who had long since felt alienated. They needed a new place, and from there Reddit clawed its way to the top and has been getting stronger ever since.
It is the ideal place for those looking to share content in a community run setting. The ability to upvote or downvote what is posted, along with the ownership of subreddits by any user who creates them, is a big change to the elitist mentality of many other vote centric sites of the past. Which is probably why it can now live up to its slogan, claiming to be the “front page of the Internet”. For many, it is.
Here is a quick guide for the average geek that is thinking of jumping on the bandwagon and discovering the joys of Reddit for themselves.
Why The Front Page Is Great
On most websites, I ignore the front page entirely. The majority of interesting content I find is hidden on later pages, or has been archived. I am much more likely to find what I am looking for via Google than I am the actual categories of a site. Especially whatever is being featured that day when you first visit the front page.
Reddit is different. Everything has been selected by the average users, not by the owners of the site. Whatever is trending is doing so because of the online consciousness that makes up the majority of the web today. This makes the content provided much more enticing, and usually pretty cool.
You have different tabs that you can choose from to see front page content and links. There is Hot, New, Controversial, Top, Saved and Wiki. They span different subreddits, and could contain anything imaginable.
Why Subreddits Are Better
A subreddit is a smaller area of the site dedicated to a specific topic (example: Travel subreddits). Some are more ‘mainstream’ and have a ton of updates, regular use, and are officially a part of Reddit at large. But most are user created, and they can be some of the most obscure things on the web. Some are even downright bizarre, like ShowerBeer – which is entirely pictures of bottles of beer in showers – or Birds With Arms, which is exactly what it sounds like. Gotta love Photoshop.
You can watch your own subreddits that you enjoy through the My Reddits tab on the front page. You can also subscribe to subreddits through an RSS app like Google Reader. Some popular ones are IamA, where people discuss interesting things about their life (with regular celebrity or industry giant cameos), and AdviceAnimals.
Reddit For Your Life
There are quite a few subreddits that are dedicated to actually helping you improve your life. LoseTheFat is there to help support you and answer questions as you lose weight. Many of the users have been on a journey for quite some time, and some have lost inspiring numbers on the scale.
Get Disciplined is there to encourage you to take control of any element of your life. Maybe it is your health, your finances, your relationships, your career, your education, or just breaking a bad habit like nail biting. You will get a ton of advice here.
Life Pro Tips is a fun subreddit that lets you know helpful things you might not have realized. Did you know if you eat Cheetos with a fork you will avoid the gross orange dust that ends up staining your fingers? That you can go to Costco without a membership to buy bulk alcohol, cigarettes or prescriptions? That lip balm on a cut stops bleeding? There is no end to the cool information, both serious and light hearted, you can find here.
Reddit is an excellent site, plain and simple.
I would even go so far as to say it is one of the best sites on the web, and that the likelihood of it being dethroned any time soon is very remote, indeed. If you haven’t checked it out yet, now is the time. You won’t regret it.
What are your favorite subreddits? Let us know in the comments.