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Read it on Reddit: Learn, Explore, Engage

By Daniel Levy, SPI Intern

So you’ve heard about Reddit. (If you haven’t, check out this Digital Studios video on Reddit Culture). If you’re like most people, you’re at the edge of the pool, dipping your toes in, checking the temperature, but you are a little hesitant to take the plunge. It’s understandable. Reddit can be a scary place. The best and worst are on Reddit, and it’s not always friendly. Focusing on the positive, here’s why you need to run toward it full speed and cannonball in. Reddit’s online community of (usually) smart users seek the truth, vote for content, and provide immeasurable amounts of feedback, discussion, and ideas (both positive and negative). Unlike Twitter and Facebook, reddit’s online community is public and discussions, called subreddits, are easily-organized, topically-specific conversations that anyone can take part in. The more votes it receives, the more popular the topic becomes, and the more views it receives.


The subreddit r/PBS features a wealth of information on new and old programming, as well as PBS digital topics, PBS attitudes, and more. What’s great is most of it is user or audience generated. While commentary can be either positive or negative, it is almost always constructive and honest, which is something hard to come by online. The following methods are great ways for your local station to start utilizing Reddit.


Focus Groups:


The Reddit subculture is uniquely beneficial to public media audiences. Most of the user community wants to be educated and explore topics on geography, science, math, history, news and social media. Their interests align with many public media interests. They go to Reddit to converse, and they love being treated like a focus group. Make sure you explore the subreddits to best identify which topics to reach out to before you start posting. A great web source for getting to know subreddits is http://subreddits.org/. The site lists hundreds of subreddits broken down by topic and tone. Don’t be afraid to cross post if you think your posting has multiple audiences, just make sure it’s applicable.

Create and utilize your own Community:


Create your own subreddit to build your own community. On your subreddit, clearly state the purpose of your page, provide links to your website as well as social media presences. Engage with your community by asking users to submit content such as a picture of their favorite “local abcd” moment or a topic pertaining to programming. Your personal community page is a great place to keep the community informed and actively talking about your station. You might post a percentage increase of a goal to be reached or upcoming dates for events/airings to look out for. The goal here is to build relationships and user advocacy. Make sure to respond to posts and if you are not a fan of something a user posts, take it down or vote it down and tell them why! Users like it when you’re open and honest. It’s much better to delete something with an explanation than to silently alienate the user. Digital authenticity is coveted.

AMA:


If you like the vibe of your responses and are excited to fuel further engagement, consider an AMA, or “ask me anything.” An AMA is a subreddit (r/AMA) where you can post your presence or reasoning and field questions. For example, your AMA might read like “I work for programming for ABCD local, AMA,” or “At local ABCD, we just covered this said event, AMA…” AMAs enable you to build better relationships with your audience. AMAs can also be posted to your station’s subreddit. Again, be forewarned, if you post an AMA, be ready to answer many different types of questions and live by the mantra, “the truth will set you free.”

Power to the people: Is it worth it?


When ratings fell for the NBC show “Community,” the r/Community subreddit fostered immense discussion and support for the show, which users then spread across many different online platforms. The Reddit community helped keep the show afloat, and it was subsequently renewed. Reddit boasts 4.4 billion page views per month. On average, over 165,000 people are Reddit at any given time during the workday and 88 percent visit multiple times per day. Your audience is waiting.
If you have any questions about Reddit or want to know more ways to use it, feel free to ask us, or even better, ask Reddit! They’ll tell you (and probably better than we can).