If you don’t use Reddit, you should.
Reddit.com is a magical place — a place to laugh, to gaze, to learn, to share, and to converse.
For those who are unaware, Reddit is a social news and entertainment website where users (known as Redditors) submit content in the form of a link or text. Other Redditors then “upvote” or “downvote” content that has been submitted.
Upvoted content (articles, discussions, images, etc.) rises to the top of various “subreddits” (niche-centered sub-communities), making it more easily found and widely read.
The awesomeness of Reddit lies in this simple system. Communities of actual users decide, via popular vote, which submissions are worthwhile and which are not.
This setup has proved extraordinarily effective.
Reddit is now one of the most reliable Internet destinations to quickly discover valuable and relevant content related to countless specific areas of interest. Just ask the 400 million people who visited the site last year.
The Biggest Problem With Reddit
There’s just one glaring problem.
When a non-registered person visits Reddit, they see only content from a core group of the most popular subreddits — /r/aww, /r/pics, /r/funny, etc.
And when a new user registers for the site, he/she is automatically subscribed only to this core group of subreddits as well.
There is nothing inherently wrong with these subreddits. In fact, they’re often filled with delightful content.
Here’s the issue:
This system leads to the majority of Reddit users never (or rarely) straying from the core group of subreddits.
And while the core subreddits are great in some ways, they’re also the worst in other ways. Consider that:
1) They’re over-saturated with millions of users, which leads to lower quality discussions.
2) The content tends to be the type that you can view very quickly, then move on.
3) They don’t cater to your more specialized interests.
The bulk of Redditors who don’t really stray from these primary subreddits are doing themselves a disservice. They aren’t even beginning to harness the awesome power of Reddit.
The Secret to Harnessing the Power of Reddit
The truly wonderful thing about Reddit is its potential as a tool for learning, thinking, growing, and connecting with like-minded people.
Most people just lurk on Reddit and use it as a shallow form of entertainment, but it can become so much more than that.
When you begin to dabble beyond the realm of the core group of subreddits, you find that there are literally thousands of lesser-known, spectacular subreddit communities.
For almost anything you could ever want to know about, a community of Redditors is waiting for you to find them (Tip: metareddit is a useful tool for finding new subreddits.).
Basically, Reddit can offer you a personalized experience unlike any other — an aggregation of only the best content from all of the communities that interest you.
The good news is that taking advantage of Reddit in this way is very simple. Here’s what to do:
1) Unsubscribe from any subreddits in the core group that aren’t your favorites.
2) Subscribe to 15+ subreddits that specifically interest you.
3) Start winning.
This doesn’t take long, and you’ll be glad you took the time. Quite suddenly, your Reddit experience can improve tenfold.
Mine definitely did. Customizing my subreddit subscriptions transformed Reddit from a distraction to a place of fun learning (Yes, learning can be fun.).
Nowadays, Reddit is my favorite online destination. I actively contribute to discussions. I find motivation and inspiration all the time. I learn new things every day.
It’s downright bodacious. And that’s why I wanted to write this post — to share with you how much better Reddit can be.
37 Mind-Expanding Subreddits
With that, I thought I’d compile a list of some of my favorite subreddits. These subreddits have proved helpful and thought-provoking for me, so I suspect some of you may benefit from them as well.
(Note: I’ve now made a new list of 44 more thought-provoking subreddits, if you’re interested.)
Originally created by a group of about a dozen bloggers, /r/ZenHabits is a community that shares links to blog posts related to several categories — motivation, productivity, entrepreneurship, personal finance, and general self-improvement. A lot of solid content here.
Another self-improvement subreddit with plenty of excellent content. This subreddit is an offshoot of an actual website. The motto is, “A force for self-improvement, goodness and togetherness that helps humanity to eliminate evil”.
Yet another inspiring community of Redditors, /r/SelfImprovement is a compendium of content related to improvement in all aspects of life.
Despite its potentially offensive name, /r/HowToNotGiveAFuck is a supportive community centered around this idea: Our attachments to people, ideas, objects, etc. cause much of our distress. This is a place to share advice to “stop giving a fuck” and thus live a more peaceful life.
I couldn’t make this list without including the “wolves” (some subreddits have mascots) of /r/GetMotivated. This subreddit is dedicated to giving and receiving motivation in all forms, and you know what? It’s the real deal — the pinnacle of motivating subreddits I’ve come across.
This subreddit is an ideal counterpart to the previous one. Maybe you’re motivated, but you can’t seem to find the discipline to get things done. /r/GetDisciplined can help. (Note: /r/GetDisciplined allows text posts only.)
If you’re a procrastinator or just feel you could be more productive, you may benefit from subscribing to this subreddit. Its sole mission is to provide tips and tricks to increase productivity.
If you’re someone who values saving money, this is a subreddit you’ll probably find beneficial. /r/Frugal is a place to share tips, strategies, and anecdotes related to spending less of your hard-earned cash.
/r/Psychology is a community dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the mind. This subreddit focuses on scientific findings and legitimate research. I always seem to find intriguing reading material here.
As is the case with many subreddits, the title of this one is rather self-explanatory. I believe everyone should possess a rudimentary understanding of this social science. /r/Economics is a useful place to begin.
/r/Literature is self-defined as “a community for deeper discussions of plays, poetry, short stories, and novels than what you might find in /r/Books.” If you study literature or are just curious to learn more about it, subscribe to this community.
Everyone should know more about history. This subreddit can help you do just that. People constantly share links to fascinating facts and stories from the past.
Have a specific question about the past? Ask it here, and an expert will answer it. Thousands of others have questions too, and new ones are posted all the time. Another great source to gain further insight into what came before us.
This subreddit is a place to ask anything science-related. Experts from dozens of fields are members of this community, so you can expect knowledgeable answers. People come up with brilliant questions to ask here, and others provide equally brilliant answers. A very educational subreddit.
/r/Philosophy is a subreddit for discussions of “the academic discipline of philosophy, philosophical problems, the history of philosophy, information on particular philosophers, and so on”. If philosophy interests you, this subreddit will as well.
(Note: There are subreddits for almost any academic subject imaginable. These are just a few of my favorites.)
Insightful Reading Material
/r/FoodForThought is dedicated to sharing “longform articles and essays that stimulate intellectual discourse”. You’ll find any number of topics and themes represented here, with the common denominator being that everything is meant to make you think.
Subtitled “Reddit as it is meant to be”, this subreddit focuses on sharing only “really great, insightful articles”. And the community is quite successful at doing just that. Topics are wide-ranging, but the content is consistently interesting.
/r/DepthHub is a unique subreddit in that it only allows submissions from within Reddit. The goal of /r/DepthHub is to collect the best discussions/submissions from around Reddit in one place. Personally, I love this subreddit. Through it, I’ve found innumerable concise and illuminating explanations of situations and phenomena of all kinds.
The idea of this community makes me chuckle, but it’s super valuable, nonetheless. /r/ExplainLikeImFive is a place for people to pose questions about anything they want and receive answers that a five-year-old could understand. A boatload of clearly stated answers here.
If you suffer from an abnormal amount of anxiety or an anxiety disorder, this subreddit could be a godsend. A tight-knit community of empathetic individuals helping each other to cope.
In the same vein as the one prior, /r/Depression is a community of support for individuals who are plagued by varying degrees of depression. These people are understanding and genuinely wish to aid one another.
Books and Quotes
“Book reviews, recommendations, stories about books, or book technology.” If you enjoy reading/words/books, this place shall prove a refreshing haven.
I love reading quotations. I often find quote gems that are packed with wisdom. If you feel the same way, subscribe to /r/QuotePorn. It is a place for people to share nothing but excellent quotes.
/r/Quotes is the same type of subreddit as /r/QuotePorn. The only difference is that many people link to banners and images which contain quotes on /r/QuotePorn, whereas /r/Quotes sticks to text submissions.
A subreddit devoted entirely to “spreading, discussing, and implementing the ideas espoused by the worldwide TED conferences”. If you’re a fan of TEDTalks (like me), this subreddit is a dandy.
This subreddit believes that interviews often contain curious and unexpected peaks into the lives of others. I tend to agree.
/r/Documentaries is precisely what it sounds like: A place to share and discover documentary films. For me, documentaries tend to be some of the most entertaining parcels of knowledge. I watch them often. Maybe you will too.
A community of artists and art enthusiasts sharing “their favorite pieces, news, or information that will impact the art community”. Many people share their own work on this subreddit, and I am often blown away by the artwork of my fellow Redditors. Very cool and inspiring, if you’re into art.
If you’re into the natural world and the biodiversity of our planet, this will be a delicious subreddit for you. All posts are links to beautiful images of different places on our planet.
Similar to /r/EarthPorn, /r/SpacePorn is on a mission to bring you high resolution images of outer space. Modern technology allows us to peer into distant space with more clarity than ever before, and it’s quite mind-boggling to see what else is out there.
/r/Buddhism is filled with caring people sharing valuable wisdom. People often have a misconception that studying other religions means they’re being disloyal to their current belief system. This is not the case. Religious teachings are packed with useful insight, and I’ve found Buddhism to be particularly enlightening. Rather than emphasizing a deity you should worship, Buddhism focuses much more on how to live peacefully and reduce suffering.
Taoism is another Eastern religion that is related to Buddhism but differs in some regards. The /r/Taoism community is a generous group of individuals who share great content.
This subreddit is educational and entertaining. The community is dedicated to sharing “obscure things that most people should already be aware of, but aren’t.”
This is a subreddit dedicated to the study of the future. The objective is to step outside of our narrow window of perspective to examine and speculate about the future of humanity. Most posts are focused on new technology and societal structures.
“Offbeat posts should be either: funny, weird, sad, strange or quirky news that’s just….just offbeat .” You will find some of the most outrageous news stories on this subreddit. They’re often quite entertaining and thus make good reading material.
/r/Fascinating is a subreddit on a mission to curate fascinating content about any number of topics. They do a fine job.
I had to include this classic subreddit. /r/LifeProTips is a place for Redditors to share bite-size “pro tips” for life. Start making your life easier by subscribing to this one.
Go Forth and Reddit
You should now possess a clearer idea of how you can be utilizing Reddit to its fullest potential.
I realize that many of you probably already knew “the secret to harnessing Reddit’s power” and had subscribed to many of these subreddits long ago. If so, much of this may have seemed elementary.
I apologize if that was the case and hope you were still able to learn something new. This post is intended for those who are not veteran Redditors and need a bit of guidance.
Whatever your level of experience, I think we can agree that Reddit is a magnificent land of all things worth seeing/knowing on the Interwebz. Let’s use it intelligently and keep it that way.
(Note: Be sure to check out my new list of 44 additional smart, thought-provoking subreddits.)
P.S. What other subreddits do you visit often? Leave a comment in the ‘Speak Your Mind’ section below.
Also, if you enjoyed this post, do me a favor by ‘liking’ Refine The Mind on Facebook here. Much appreciated.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jordan Bates
In this Internet multiverse, Refine The Mind is a planet for the weirdos, doubters, and lovers. Jordan Bates is its chief daydreamer and an English teacher in South Korea. He earned a BA in English Literature with minors in Philosophy & Spanish at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Read the story of Refine The Mind and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.