Please Note: New social media accounts (including Reddit accounts and subreddits) fall under Western's New Social Media process, in partnership with your Communications Officer and the Department of Communications & Public Affairs.
What is Reddit?
Reddit is a website where many forums (known as subreddits) exist with multiple discussions on each topic. Any topic you can think of exists on Reddit. Reddit has 542 million monthly users (as of 2017). It’s the #4 most visited website in the US and #9 in the world.
Western's Reddit Strategy
Western has an official Reddit profile (/u/WesternU) and a community-driven subreddit (/r/uwo).
Reddit is a space for community members to share, remix, comment and discuss. Much of the Western related participation takes place in the Western subreddit, with threads being started by members of the community and receiving answers from the community.
The Western official Reddit profile is available for the limited situations where it is critical for an official and authoritative voice to weigh in - such as to correct critical misinformation, in cases of safety/potential harm, and when directly asked to participate. Staff & campus community members wishing to participate on Reddit in any official capacity are to contact Communications & Public Affairs to request action from the official Western Reddit profile, or to explore alternative options together.
Admissions on Reddit
In addition to /u/WesternU, Western staff also manage the /u/AdmissionsOfficerUWO Reddit profile. Similar to the WesternU profile, this account takes a when-needed-only approach to participation - stepping into the peer to peer Reddit community only to correct misinformation or when directly asked. This account is managed by Undergraduate Recruitment & Admissions, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Reddit Accounts & Reddit Requests
Staff & campus community members wishing to participate on Reddit in any official capacity are to contact Communications & Public Affairs to request action from the official Western Reddit profile, or to explore alternative options together.
Please refer to Western's policy for new social media accounts for further information.
What is an AMA?
AMA stands for “Ask Me Anything”. Reddit users will either request an expert come to a subreddit to answer some questions or the subreddit itself will have a regular AMA feature you can apply for. Each subreddit has instructions on how to do an AMA (ie: the Science subreddit’s rules: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3fzgHAW-mVZdnBKaHhCM1RlMFU/edit)
Preparing your AMA and what to expect
Establish a start time
Establish and in the introduction post a clear start and end time when you’ll stop replying. If the thread starts to really take off, having that clearly established will help you manage the audience's expectations. If you don’t, people will expect you to reply all day long. If the comments are coming in quickly, you can take a break and come back later to answer some more questions (say, for dinner). If you do that, be sure to establish when you’ll be back and when you’ll be going offline again. If people see you answering questions again they can start asking you questions and hoping for a reply.
Don't get discouraged!
Don’t be discouraged if there are only a few questions or comments, especially leading up to the event. AMAs are hard and for your first time, they can be overwhelming. Reddit is a massive community and making a dent there isn’t easy. On the day of the event you should have more questions than you did leading up to it.
Be aware that the actual AMA doesn't happen on the same page as where it's originally advertised. On the day of the AMA, a link to the actual page will show up in the right sidebar of the subreddit. Clicking that will take you to where the AMA will take place. In there, you should find more questions than were posted on the announcement page.
Have thick skin
On Reddit, some people hide behind anonymous or throwaway (meaning they use it once and never use it again) user accounts so they can post whatever they’d like. Don't be surprised if some people post jokes or negative questions or comments.
There is a chance that you might see a small, round, yellow icon with a star in it next to your name, particularly after you make a reply to a post. The post could be highlighted with a faint yellow background. If so, you've been awarded Reddit Gold. This means some has paid (or tipped) Reddit $4 to thank you for an particularly insightful reply. The effect will last about a month (Reddit Gold holders will also have an ad-free Reddit experience). Common courtesy is to publicly thank Reddit for Gold.(top)
Posting to Reddit
Don't feel obligated to answer every question
You don’t have to answer all questions if you don’t want to or can't get to them all. If a comment or question is negative you can skip it.
Don't feed the trolls
Don't attack anyone making a question or comment that attacks you. It will make you appear reactionary and depending on how sensitive the content, can cause you to lose your position as the subject of the AMA.
Clarify or skip questions you don't know the answer to
Be sure of your replies. If you're not sure of the answer to a question, skip it or reply to say so. You can also consider having the commenter to rephrase their question. Whatever you do, don't post false information. Reddit can sniff that stuff out and immediately throw it in your face. Combined, the community is really smart and you should treat them as such.(top)
Sharing the AMA
Social networks and promotion
Be sure to share the AMA on all relevant social media networks, both through your faculty as well as through the author's network (if they have one).(top)
Your AMA team
Have a team to help
Even if it's not your first AMA, you should have at least one other person in the room to help you out. Another person can help spot and/or organize questions that the subject of the AMA can consider answering and contact someone else if something happens that you're not sure of.
A shared Google doc
Create a shared Google doc that you and your team can edit and post to. On that Google doc, start by posting vital links that might come up during the AMA like Twitter or Facebook links, links to the related faculty, and things like that.
The Google doc is also important because you can copy and paste specific questions that the author can refer to, which can be handy if the number of questions coming in proves to be too many to keep up with.
You can save a copy of Western's AMA Google doc from this template: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sF8BDFfUUZ9GIN1YyaroxxQ2d9zRwobU38fRhXyBgEk/edit
Establish a method of communication with your team
If your team isn't all in the same room, set up a separate Google Hangout or use the chat feature inside Google docs to share information and keep one another up to date on posts you've seen, and things for people to keep in mind as the AMA continues.(top)
After the AMA
Update the introduction
Update the introduction to thank people for coming to the AMA and for their questions. Doing that helps people, especially those who came into the AMA late (or after it’s ended) know that you won’t be answering any more questions.
Record for posterity
Once the AMA is over, get a screengrab of the entire page so you can record it for the future. Further, re-visit the page the next day to compare the results with the new ones.
Have the team sit down and discuss what worked and what didn't. If you have any special insights, feel free to share them with email@example.com so we can update this document!
Reddit doesn't offer special analytics in any post you make so you need to gather the information yourself. You're after three key data points: Score, Upvotes, and Comments.
How many Points the post got. You can find this in the top right of the page. This in an overall score that very loosely can be interpreted as a measure of how well the AMA did
How well the AMA was received. You can tell this based on the Upvoted score, represented by percentage next to the Points in the upper right corner. The higher the number indicates the number of people who clicked that they “Like” the AMA itself.
The number of comments the AMA received (this includes your replies). This number can be found beneath the intro text, directly above the comment box. This number indicates how many people engaged with you and one another during the AMA. If you want to know numbers that don’t include your replies, you can use your Google doc and count the number of questions you answered and then subtract that from the number of comments. This number won’t be indicative of people who engaged with you as it includes reply threads made to others’ comments.