The Now: What is Reddit?

Lesson 16: What is Reddit?


What is Reddit?

An illustration of the Reddit mascot waving from behind a laptop.

Reddit is a website where users can view and share links or text posts for others to see. These posts range from pictures and videos to news and discussion threads. With hundreds of millions of users, Reddit has become one of the most popular websites globally and has provided a platform for up-to-date news and trends.

Because Reddit is a public forum, certain content may be offensive or negative to some people. It's probably a good idea to stay off Reddit while in formal places, like your workplace or at school.

How does it work?

Reddit is comprised of various communities called subreddits. Subreddits have their own pages and are focused on a particular theme, interest, or belief. Some popular examples are News, Movies, Funny, IAmA, Pics, and LifeProTips. You can subscribe to however many you want, and your Reddit homepage will only show you posts from those subreddits.

A screen capture of posts from various subreddits.

Within these subreddits, individuals can post links or text that relate to the subreddit's general theme. Other users can then determine the popularity of a post by either upvoting or downvoting it, using the arrows next to its title. The more upvotes a particular post has, the higher it will appear in its subreddit.

A screenshot of a subreddit post.

In order to post, comment, and vote on Reddit, you'll need to create your own account. You can do this by clicking the Log in or sign up button above the search bar in the top-right corner of the site.

Why use Reddit?

Reddit is useful for a lot of things, most notably for staying up to date on the latest news, trends, memes, and more. In addition to this, it allows you to find and join niche communities that you might have trouble finding elsewhere online. You can find subreddits for almost anything, with topics ranging from car repair to woodworking to sticking googly eyes on inanimate objects.

The negative side of Reddit

Creating a Reddit account is pretty easy. It's also free and allows you to post anonymously. Because of this, it makes it easy for people to troll, harass, and post generally offensive or negative content, despite the website's rules.

Because of this, controversy around the site occasionally rears its head. There have been racist and hateful subreddits that were shut down due to their communities making threats, spewing hate speech, and sometimes even committing illegal activities.

While the above may sound off-putting, there's still a lot of good that can come out of using Reddit. In most communities, offensive posts and comments get downvoted before they can reach the front page, and users are often banned when violating the site's terms of service.