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You know what’s addictive? reddit. The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” overflows with memes, in-jokes, and surprising facts that can keep anyone entertained for hours. Literally. I’ve used reddit for hours at a time. It sucks you in.

However, finding your way around as a newcomer to the site can be confusing and sometimes intimidating. reddit’s a big place, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Here’s how to get started and master reddit instead of vice versa.

Make an Account to Follow Your Interests

Make a list of your interests. All of them, no matter how obscure, have a subreddit dedicated to them somewhere. That’s the beauty of reddit.

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I like to follow Android news (shocking, right?), video game development, and everything that happens in Linux.

To do that, I made an account. It’s simple. Just click the box in the upper-right hand corner of the page. Now you’re ready to subscribe!

When you sign up for an account, reddit subscribes you to a list of default subreddits. These tend to be the most popular areas of the site and attract the most newcomers.

If you’re just starting out, spent some time in the defaults. Check out /r/askreddit, a place where people ask surprising questions with impressive results.

The defaults are good for general entertainment, but if you’d like to really dig in, get that list of interests back out.

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Less mainstream topics tend to have smaller subreddits dedicated to them, though that varies. Some interests which are obscure in real life, such as indie PC games, enjoy immense popularity on reddit.

Finding good niche subreddits for your interests is easy if you know where to look. Typing names into the search bar is honestly a decent starting place. Want to learn about Ubuntu? Go to reddit.com/r/ubuntu.

(The /r/ part of the address marks it as a subreddit).

If that doesn’t work, try visiting a more general subreddit and reading their sidebar. That’s the box on the right side that lists the sub’s rules. It often has a list of “related subreddits” below.

For example, I found /r/Android through a link posted in the sidebar of /r/technology. You can find a lot that way.

Once you have found a new subreddit you like, make sure you’re signed in and click the green “subscribe” button on the right side. This will add that subreddit to your news feed, and it’ll show up on your front page.

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A good subreddit collection is essential. It helps collect information into one place for easy consumption. Try it.

Vote on What You Like

reddit decides on its content democratically. Users submit links. Other users vote on those links. The content with the most upvotes rises to the top of the front page of that subreddit (and of reddit as a whole, if it’s popular enough).

Each person can vote once on any submission. You can add one upvote or one downvote depending on the content’s quality.

Most people vote based on what they like, though reddit actually has guidelines about how you should vote. It’s considered rude to downvote someone just because you disagree with them.

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For example, it would be against reddit etiquette (reddiquette) if you found a comment chain of a liberal and a conservative arguing and upvoted the person whose views matched your own.

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Try to vote based on what you like within the guidelines of reddiquette. If a certain kind of content is your favorite, vote for it! Help it get to the front page so others can appreciate it too.

Read the Comments

Beneath every link, there’s another link that will take you to a page of comments discussing that link.

I recommend reading the comments for most links, as they often provide additional information of explain the context of the post. Sometimes they even disprove the post.

Plus, reddit comments are usually entertaining. They operate by the same upvote/downvote system as submissions do. The system does a decent job of filtering out the crap, though it does tend to encourage some uncomfortable trends.

Don’t Be Afraid to Unsubscribe

I talked to a friend at a Christmas party last year. When I mentioned I liked reddit, he shook his head. He couldn’t stand the site.

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Most redditors are not traditionally religious, and many are strong atheists. It made this guy (a dyed-in-the-wool Protestant) uncomfortable.

You’ll dislike some parts of reddit. Some things won’t catch your interest. Others might seem alien or bizarre to you.

Unsubscribe from any subreddit you don’t like. Pull the trigger. You’ll be happy you did it.

A lot of users unsubscribe from many or all the default subreddits when they make an account. Some even make an account just to get one particular subreddit off their front page.

Be aggressive with grooming your subscriptions. Trust me, it improves reddit.

Understand the Scale to Get a Better Response

reddit often frustrated me as a new user. I’d submit something, and no one would read it. My articles got a handful of votes. At best.

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The problem with submitting content to the larger subs is that there’s just so much material that goes through there. Chances are your submission will get buried in the flood.

Submitting to smaller subreddits can produce better results, as there’s less competition.

Mobile Access

reddit has a pretty minimalist design so it loads easily even with a slow connection. Also, like any other social network it is available on various mobile platforms. It is also available on Android and iOS through various apps. We have picked a few of the well known ones.

reddit Mobile Apps

Beacon Reader – On both these Android and iOS, Beacon Reader is the go-to app. With features like subreddit grouping, keyword and domain filtering, and immediate picture uploading, you’ve got all things reddit in one place.

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Get the app on Android and iOS.

Another option on Android is the relatively new, but feature rich reddit app called Reddit Now. For iOS users Alien Blue is pretty good alternative.

Sit Back and Enjoy the Show

The best thing to do when learning how to use reddit is just to use it as much as you can. Read the subreddits. Learn the inside jokes and slang. Take it all in.

You can sit back and vote on submissions without ever having to comment or take part in discussions. Don’t feel obligated to contribute.

The best way to get into reddit is to slowly immerse yourself, one bit at a time.