reddit_for_dummiesWhen you first stop in to Reddit.com, it doesn’t look pretty. It doesn’t look like anybody has cleaned house since the 1990s. “Why,” you ask yourself, “Why is this place called the front page of the internet?”

Spend quality time there and brace yourself: it may be life changing.

I’ve only been on Reddit for about two years. I’m still a newbie.

And yet, I think I know enough to tell you how to become a seasoned Redditor.

First off, let’s define Reddit.

It’s a message board where users submit links or texts (comments, questions, stories). Other users can vote on these submissions, up or down, if they like or don’t like them. They can also post comments and expand the message threads. The top commented and voted threads make it to the top page of the site, which is what you see when you first visit: top posts.

But, these posts are also filtered into categories or subjects. They’re called subreddits. And you subscribe to your favorites.

By default, when you visit without an account, it shows the same subreddits to everyone. These are things like news and gifs. But when you grab an account, you can dump any of those and sign up for the ones that YOU want to see.

I use it for work and personal so I am subscribed to categories such as:

My list is FAR longer than this, but you get the idea. The subjects vary wildly from silly to technical to hobbies.

Each of these subreddits is a community with its own rules for posting comments. Some of them are for posting images only. Some want you to title posts depending on the content you are sharing. Some try to regulate bullying in the comment section, some don’t.

It’s this customization that makes Reddit a life changer.

This last Christmas, I decided I wanted to surprise my husband with the start of a home gym. We recently bought our first house and have a storage room off of our bedroom that was fairly empty. So why not make it a place he could lift? Except, how?

I asked Reddit.

I joined the subreddit, homegym, and posted my question. The responses from random users (who are anonymous because all you can see are their usernames and posts), came almost instantly and they were superbly helpful. Before long, I had a shopping list and a game plan, thanks to their guidance.

Today, we have a small home gym complete with rubber horse stall mats, a rack, bar, kettlebells, and a bench. Oh, and yes, he uses it. And we canceled his gym membership. We so frugal.

The value of Reddit is in the community.

If you’re not a part of the community, then you won’t see the site as anything but a messy webpage.