#Storyteller: Episode 113 with Reddit’s Gabriel Sands

ICYMI: Reddit is home to more than 100,000 active communities, where more than 430 Redditors every month are contributing unique content. “Reddit is in a unique position in that our audience is really large. We’ve been around for 15 years  now. The name Reddit is known, but often knowledge stops there,” says Gabriel Sands.

As the Senior Partnership Manager at Reddit, Sands helps news and journalism organizations understand how they can best join, contribute, and build great content using Reddit. “Reddit as a collective entity thrives on participation. It does not thrive on promotion,” says Sands. “So it’s really important for publishers to at least temporarily subvert their instincts to promote themselves and their work, and focus more on participating within communities on Reddit that are relevant to the content and journalism that they are producing.”

In this episode of #Storyteller, Gabriel shares inside tips to understanding the communities on Reddit, hosting a successful AMA, and the secrets behind increasing your Reddit karma.



On joining Reddit:

The metaphor that I often use to help people understand this is to think of Reddit as a collection of cocktail parties that are ongoing. As a news org that theoretically hasn’t really been on Reddit before, you are a latecomer to that cocktail party. So when you enter the room, the party’s already going on, you have a few ways to handle yourself. One way would theoretically be to throw the doors open and start shouting at everyone what you did that day. But if you do that, people are likely going to react with, ‘Who are you? How did you get here? Please leave. We were having a nice party before you showed up and tried to take everything over.’ The Reddit equivalent of that is to burst into a community out of nowhere and just start posting links. What you would likely want to do though, if you want to be socially accepted, is slip into the room, grab a drink take a couple of sips, listen to what people are talking about, and then figure out how you can insert yourself into that conversation in a way that enhances the conversation itself rather than trying to take it over. Because publishers often don’t want to jump right in, AMA’s are often a great way for us to lead someone into the room and start getting folks feet wet so they then can begin their engagement journey.


On what makes a successful AMA:

So at the end of the day, an AMA is always about their person and their work. The person does not need to be well-known, the person just needs to be interesting in some way. So anecdotally, one of the most successful AMA’s that we’ve ever done was actually with a vacuum cleaner repair man. I can’ teven tell you what his name is because I don’t know it, but it was the perfect topic where it’s the type of thing that applies to everyone, assuming that we’ve all used a vacuum cleaner at some time, it is a fairly unique job, and one that everyone would really be able to ask a question about. That is the perfect example of one of those AMA’s where you think it may not be this bright flashy thing, but it is actually really what Redditors are going to latch onto.



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