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06 September 2013

What Reddit Has to Offer

Over the last year I've been on reddit a lot, and because of its instant feedback I've gotten better at conveying ideas. It takes a while to figure out how to interact with the hive mind but I think it's a worthwhile endeavor, especially as an increasing amount of our interactions happen digitally and in venues that are open to a large number of people. Here's some rough guidelines:
  • Being snarky or mean rarely works to your advantage. Along those same lines, swearing, unless done in the appropriate context, often makes you look less intelligent.
  • People are far more interested in craft and the process of building than I assumed.
  • Being defensive, dispassionate, humorless, and overly analytical - generally at the same time - is not a way to win hearts and minds.
  • If you make it even slightly difficult to view photos or find information you will lose viewers, and they better be hosted to Imgur.com. Losing viewers is not linear either, its logarithmic. Lose three of your first ten viewers and your post might get ten up votes instead of a thousand.
  • Timing is everything. Posting a thread or commenting on a thread at the right time is the difference between no exposure and hitting the front page (a lot of people reading what you submitted).
  • Bad grammar isn't tolerated well.
  • Trying to promote yourself or a product on reddit is nearly impossible unless you are completely genuine. Redditors have about the greatest bullshit detectors out there. Become one of them, then share things you're passionate about. It's the only way.
So what's the point? Allow me to digress.

When I played paintball there was a format change. Tournaments went from a 7v7 single game to a sort of 5v5 in rounds. It changed the dynamic of play greatly, but more or less the same people who were "famous" before stayed famous afterwards. The new format favored some players styles and soon there were new superstars. Players who otherwise would not have been famous. That's what's happening now with internet communities. There are companies and individuals creating their own niche and credibility through communities like this.

The part that's fascinating is that, through various mechanisms of the community, only people who really genuinely care get promoted. Do something interesting that you're passionate about and they'll promote you. Otherwise, get ignored.

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