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Science Blogging and Reddit

Dear Science Bloggers Everywhere:

We spend a lot of time composing our blog posts. This is good because content is king. But unless you are wildly popular, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't spend a little more time smartly, efficiently and tastefully promoting your content after you post it. There are a lot of useful ways to market your latest posts, but here I want to talk about how best to submit your content to reddit.com.

Reddit is a collection of topical forums known as subreddits. There are subreddits for all sorts of topics, including many of the sciences:
 /r/Anthropology/, /r/Astronomy/, /r/biology/, /r/chemistry/, /r/geology/, /r/mycology/, /r/Ornithology/, /r/linguistics/, /r/PhilosophyofScience, etc.
Chances are good there is a subreddit devoted to your field of study and/or the specific topic of your post. When you submit your content to reddit, don't just submit it to the main page--/r/reddit.com/--but instead take a minute or two to identify the appropriate subreddit for your content.

A Reddit Submission Form

What does submitting to the appropriate subreddit accomplish vs. submitting to the main page of reddit?

The main page of reddit receives hundreds, if not thousands of submissions per hour, so the chances that a large enough number of people trying to wade through that flood of information are going to notice your submission and upvote it enough times to bring it to everyone else's attention are slim to none. On the other hand, the rate of new submissions to topical subreddits is vastly lower, so not only will your post have longer in the new submissions queue to be noticed, the people checking the new submissions in a topical subreddit have self selected as being interested in the type of content you are submitting. Contrast this with the people sifting through the font page of reddit who are likely more interested in finding rage comics or pictures of cats than a review of a scientific paper.

And that is reddit. Simple really. Just take an extra 30 seconds to make sure you are submitting to the appropriate subreddit and you will tap into a resevour of science friendly readers who are telling you in no uncertain terms that they are interested in what you are blogging about.

Comments

  1. Don't some people downvote the hell out of submissions of own material under accusation of 'karmawhoring'? Guess that's less of a problem on smaller subreddits though...

    Also, shameless plug: http://www.reddit.com/r/microscopy/

    Come enjoy and submit various microscopy pictures and related discussions!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I submit FoS content to reddit all the time, and my username is fieldofscience, so it's pretty obvious to anyone looking that I'm connected to the content. But my sense is most people aren't looking (reddit isn't really about the users, it's about the submissions), or if they are, they're sophisticated enough to recognize that I'm being above board and topical. Or it could just be that FoS bloggers are so good that there's never any call to kill the messenger.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a great idea.

    Since there's no subreddit for Molecular Evolution, I set up a community. If anyone's interested...

    http://www.reddit.com/r/MolecularEvolution/

    ReplyDelete
  4. I used to submit my own pages to Reddit occasionally - not all the time, or it did look like spam. However, I found that most of the visitors from Reddit didn't stay long enough on the page to read it! It might be a problem with the atheism sub-reddit, where people are looking for quick-fixes, rather than sciencey stuff.

    Sometimes it does work, though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Epiphenom is actually a good example in a couple of respects Tom. While /r/atheism/ might seem like the best subreddit for your content, the deeper your drill the more you find there are other options, including /r/Freethought/. I've also tried submitting your content to religious subreddits but for some reason that never goes over well.

    The other point I would make is that reddit is enjoying a lot of growth, so even if you're only seeing moderate success, you're still reaching a newish audience with each submission.

    ReplyDelete

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