An Introduction to Reddit for Facebook Users

An Introduction to Reddit for Facebook Users

Samuel Regas1280px-reddit_logo_and_wordmark-svg

Just about everyone on the internet has (or had) a Facebook account. As you almost certainly know, Facebook is useful for connecting with friends, family, and those people from middle school that you barely remember. With an estimated 1.8 Billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest and most popular social media platform in the world. In fact, it is so ubiquitous, it often referred to as the social network. So what makes Facebook Facebook? Posts. An average facebook feed consists of posts such as memes, articles, and thoughts from the user’s “friends”.

Reddit consists of similar posts. Except there are no “friends”, instead a Reddit feed (usually) consists of “hot” posts from “subreddits” which the user “subscribes” to. This is why Reddit is sometimes humorously referred to as the unsocial network. A subreddit is a lot like a Facebook page, in that it’s a community revolving around a certain idea such as a hobby, tv show, sports team, etc., and contains posts related to that topic. Anyone can post in any subreddit (with a couple of negligible exceptions). There are two types of posts: link posts and self posts. Link posts are, as one might assume, outgoing links, usually to a picture or article. Self posts are text-only. Each post then has a comment section, just like Facebook posts

Okay, but what’s the big difference, why would I use Reddit when I have a Facebook account already going? The answer is user curation. When your friend posts an article on Facebook, it’ll enter your feed. How far you have to scroll is determined largely by engagement. The more “likes” and comments a post gets, the higher it will appear on your feed and the more likely you are to see it. Reddit works in a similar way, but is much more cutting. Unlike “likes” Reddit uses an upvote/downvote system, in which users will either upvote posts that they like or agree with, and downvote ones that they don’t. The number of downvotes are subtracted from the number of upvotes. The greater the number is, the higher it appears on the feed. Comments, which appear on posts, work in the same way. This number is then added to a running total on the Original Poster’s (or OP’s) account. This number is called the user’s “post karma” (formerly called link karma). So, a user’s post karma is the value of all of the upvotes of all of a user’s posts minus all of the downvotes from all of those posts. Comments follow the same system, and the total upvotes and downvotes are combined to form the user’s “comment karma”. Much like ‘likes’ on Facebook this totally useless number matters a lot to Reddit users, for whatever psychological reason. This incentivizes users to be careful when posting or commenting, as a bad post could hurt their score. One of the most important things a new Redditor will learn is Reddiquette (etiquette for using Reddit). Reddiquette is pretty straight-forward. Opinions should be backed up with facts, rudeness and name calling are frowned-upon, try to be original, and don’t dare make a grammar/spelling mistake. The system also encourages reputable sources as Redditors love to call out other Redditors on false information.

This system leads to the best (most interesting, most relevant, and most true) content to appear on the front page, unlike your weird uncle’s Facebook post about why “Trump is the second coming of Jesus” or your neighbor’s 40th baby picture in the last week.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism