What we learned from a week of Reddit: The Dos and Don’ts
Anyone with the tiniest knowledge of Web3 development will tell you the same thing: Communities are the key to Web3. In the decentralized future, the entire hinges on the avid contribution of each individual in their communities, no matter a fiscal contribution (tokens), exchange of knowledge, or pure sentiments. While everyone is trying to get a piece of the cake (as of us haha) and grow their own communities, we decided to take a step back and look into Reddit: the biggest web2 community.
How does Reddit work?
Billed as ‘The Front Page Of Internet’, Reddit has been home to more than 130,000 (as of 2020) individual communities, where Reddit users (Redditors) can join a community of any interest, open a thread and comment freely on their communities (subreddit). Well, not so free. What makes Reddit stands out is its voting system. Users can ‘upvote’ and ‘downvote’ threads and comments and the most popular content will rise to the top. As a user, every upvote and downvote you receive will be reflected in the form of ‘Karma’ and therefore can be seen as your reputation.
Our takeaway after actively spending 1 week on 30 subreddits
We first started with r/kpop, a subreddit dedicated to discussing kpop culture with over 1.5 million users. The emergence of Kpop is heavily contributed to their loyal fan groups and communities and therefore it seems like a good anchor point to study their community. Well, things did not go as planned.
Before we get into it, remember Avatar? In the 2009 James Cameron movie, the US military faced fierce resistance from the indigenous blue aliens as they attempted to invade their home planet. This is exactly how it feels like as we posted our first thread on a kpop-related subreddit on a controversial topic: NFT. Within 24 hours, we have received overwhelmingly negative comments and feedback: mildly aggressive insults, name-calling and over-the-top criticisms. Just like how the protagonist in Avatar feels when he first encountered the blue alien from Avatar, but in retrospect, that is also how the community feels: an outsider who is not appreciative of their culture is trying to invade their turf. Of course, they get defensive.
We apply the same approach with several other subreddits, all of the various quirks, and a similar result occurs. Subreddit members treasure their ‘homes’. Their compassion and contentment extended across the platforms and formed a unified, unbreakable fortress. A community.
Now, let’s circle back to ‘Karma’, the reputation system. Our Reddit account takes a tremendous hit after our ‘rogue’ attempt as we gained -30 Karma and therefore was refrained from posting on certain subreddits. There we embarked on our redemption journey. After gaining an understanding of how communities operate, we came in with a different approach: be curious.
Curiosity in this case does not kill cats. We submitted several questions on largely-populated subreddit like r/askreddit, r/history and r/futurism just to test the water and received an excellent result. The comment rates doubled when we pose a question in the title, and users are very welcoming to discuss, which drives more comments and more exposure. Some users even DM (direct message) us to further engage in our conversations. The way we see it, communities are not impenetrable, but you need to be active, genuine and engaged.
There is no shortcut, especially on Reddit.
Don’t : Barge into communities and plug your products right away.
Do: Listen, answer and engage with communities in a consistent manner and genuine attitude.