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If you are proficient in social media basics and looking for a new online community, I recommend checking out Reddit.
Reddit is a social media community made up of thousands of bulletin boards — called “subreddits” — on almost any topic you can imagine. Millions of people all over the world are active on Reddit. On each subreddit, users who are logged in (“Redditors”) can post a link to a relevant article or create a text post. The other Redditors can up-vote or down-vote your post, leave comments, and up- and down-vote others’ comments. It is a very interactive community.
I love using Reddit as a lawyer and a person. When you create a Reddit account, you decide which subreddits to subscribe to. As a lawyer, I subscribed to the subreddits for Law, Law School and Cyberlaws. I also joined a closed subreddit for Lawyers. These are all useful forums for interacting with others in the legal community. (Note that to be added to closed subreddits, you must submit a request to the subreddit’s moderators.)
Since I am a business owner and practice transactional business law, I also subscribed to the Entrepreneur and Small Business subreddits to keep up with issues relevant to those topics, and offer suggestions when requested.
In addition, I subscribed to several subreddits that are related to my personal life, including Running, Star Trek, Minimalism and Phoenix (my city). I also enjoy the subreddit called Today I Learned — a great source of tidbits to add to my arsenal of random information.
Regardless of whether you’re using it for personal or professional reasons, Reddit is an awesome place to connect and interact with others with similar interests. Many people opt to use a username that does not resemble their real name so they can feel comfortable speaking more frankly.
If you are interested in joining Reddit, I recommend you follow a subreddit for several weeks before joining the conversation. Each subreddit has its own rules, norms and lingo. It’s best to get the lay of the land before participating.
While it is often permissible to post links to your own website or blog, do not use Reddit simply to get traffic to your website. That may fly on other social media platforms, but not on this one. Reddit is advanced social media and Redditors will call you out hard and fast if it looks like you’re breaking the norms of the subreddit. And anyone can see your posting history so it’s easy to tell who is misusing the site.
I’ve been using Reddit for three years and still feel like a novice at times. Early on, I was called out for posting links to my blog too often. So I challenged myself to post something useful every day on a subreddit I subscribed to that wasn’t a link to my own work. This helped me shift from wanting to simply share my knowledge or experiences to interacting more with others. And I’m still learning.
Of course, if you participate on Reddit, follow the rules that apply to attorneys, too, and be mindful of your state’s ethics rules. Don’t solicit work and don’t give legal advice. If someone asks a legal question or you think you can add value to a subreddit with legal information, use the platform to explain concepts or share from your own experience.
I love using Reddit, but I will caution you that it can be an awesome information black hole that can easily eat up several hours in an instant. Consider yourself warned.
Ruth Carter is a lawyer, writer and speaker. She is Of Counsel with Venjuris, focusing her practice on intellectual property, social media, First Amendment and flash mob law. Ruth is the author of the ABA book “The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers,” as well as “Flash Mob Law: The Legal Side of Planning and Participating in Pillow Fights, No Pants Rides, and Other Shenanigans.” Follow her on Twitter @rbcarter.
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