When it comes to utilizing social media in the science community, you might not automatically think about including Reddit into your activities. While Reddit threads may have a reputation for being controversial, there is another side to Reddit that is both important and useful to the scientific world.
What exactly is Reddit? You can think of Reddit as one giant virtual conference for every discipline and subject you could imagine where people break off into smaller groups -called subreddits- to talk about topics interesting to them. When you first enter Reddit it looks like one large message board. When you register for an account you can post content and vote posts up or down the page, helping to determine what will receive the most attention.
What subreddits do I even begin with? If you’re interested in a more general discussion on science, start with http://reddit.com/r/EverythingScience. It’s a place for people to talk about anything and everything having to do with science. You can filter by field, add your thoughts to discussions already taking place, or start a new discussion by submitting a link to something you are interested in – a blog post, video, news article, editorial, etc.
If you’re looking for a more defined discussion on peer-reviewed science, head on over to The New Reddit Journal of Science at http://reddit.com/r/science. There you may only submit links to published peer-reviewed research. Get the conversation started on your work or a peer’s work!
What is an AMA? An AMA is short for “Ask Me Anything.” A scientist arranges a time with Reddit moderators to discuss a specific topic related to their research or interests. You submit a brief bio and summary of what you would like to discuss, and the Reddit community is given the chance to submit questions before the AMA start time. There is a submission guide with detailed information on how to get started with setting one up. An AMA is a great way to get a conversation started on items that are of particular interest to you, and a way to share your expertise with people interested in studying or working in the same field, or just interested in learning something new.
Springer editors and authors have hosted a few AMAs, including:
How do I establish myself as a qualified scientist in my field to the Reddit community? Reddit uses something called flair to designate who is a trained scientist, doctor, or engineer. The flair will present as a small bar next to your user name, noting your title and/or education level (such a Professor of Biology, PhD, etc.). When you add this bit of information people will understand that the comments you provide are knowledgeable and valuable. Once you have created your account reference these instructions to get your flair.
How is using Reddit any different than posting on other social media sites? Reddit gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise in a more detailed, conversational way. You can find people discussing topics at length that you are interested in and can contribute meaningfully to. Unlike social media platforms that are centered around creating a personalized profile that is all about you, Reddit prides itself on being a community. The things you share should not be overly promotional, but should contribute to the discussion as a whole. Joining the discussion can help serve to expand your network and reach.