Idiot's Guide to Reddit

In many cases, we all need the simplest possible explanation for something.  It is a fact of life that no matter how hard we try to "get it," we are stymied until we hear it explained like we are in elementary school.  

This was the case for me not too long ago.  It happened to be for Reddit, "a type of online community where users vote on content to take part in a reddit community."  Call it a mental block or simply glazing over the obvious, I just couldn't wrap my head around this type of user community and how it could be used in general as well as for disaster management.

I found two great videos that led me to my aha moment and succinctly explain what Reddit is and how it works.  

The first time I experienced Reddit's prominence was in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings.  Reddit users upvoted article(s) that incorrectly identified a suspect.  This reporting was grossly negligent and contributed significantly to rumors that should never have gotten the attention they did.  

The incorrectly identified suspects were subjected to unthinkable online (and offline) bashing and scrutiny.  In one case, the person Reddit users identified was a student that had gone missing a month prior to the bombings.  My heart breaks for the family that had to endure such speculation while praying for their son's return!  

While you may not use Reddit in your every day jobs, it is very important to understand the tools that your citizens and the wider public uses.  You may have new opportunities to conduct rumor control before things spread like wildfire as well as have the opportunity to engage your citizens in new ways.  Take the time to understand how Reddit works, it may be just what you need one day.