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Jayne Miller By Jayne Miller • January 20, 2016

The Social Media Site Teachers Should Be Using (But Probably Aren’t)

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Open question: why don't more teachers use Reddit?

If you're an avid Redditor, apologies for the assumuption. As far as this author is concerned, Reddit is where it’s at for theories related to all of my true crime binge-watching pleasures. (Here’s to the Making a Murderer and Serial subreddits, which are wonderful.)

All true crime aside, I think there's a big opening for educators on this platform. I've seen some thriving edu communities within Reddit, but it doesn’t appear to be a go-to site for many of the educators in Chalkup's PLN. And that’s curious. 

Before You Go Further: Explain Reddit to Me, a Non-Redditor

(If you’re already a practiced Redditor, skip this section.)

Reddit is a social networking/entertainment destination for anyone who likes anything. It’s an online bulletin board divided into specific communities - subreddits - all of which have their own posting rules, culture, and general flavor.

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What makes this platform stand out is the ability to find quality content that’s been vetted by members of your community. And these communities are deep. Car lovers, German Shepherd enthusiasts, and professional chefs all have thriving subreddits to talk shop, share ideas, and post links. (There are weirder ones, I promise.)

Why is This Good for Teachers?

Reddit is good for teachers because - broadly speaking - the platform is less about profile-building and networking than it is about sharing ideas and content relevant to a community. And there's a need for that kind of discourse.

Subreddits are moderated and users defer to Reddiquette (more or less). Among the tenets of Reddiquette is the 9:1 rule. Users are encouraged to post in such a way that “only 1 out of every 10 of submissions should be your own content.”

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This means this isn’t a platform with a lot of selling. Few are there to promote themselves or a company; like you, they’re there to learn and ask questions. Good content is passed on. If you look like you’re trying to sell something, you’ll likely be removed from a community. No one (essentially) is hawking paid placements cleverly disguised as thoughtful posts.

Then Why Don’t Most of My Colleagues Use Reddit for Edu News?

Some of them are. There are lots of communities for educators on Reddit that are hubs for content and questions about teaching and learning. We’ll drop some below.

These meaningful exchanges wouldn’t be happening if there weren’t teachers there already.

That aside, there’s a reasonable chance that your school blocks Reddit. This isn’t an education-specific site. When you navigate outside of teacher subreddits, there’s plenty of NSFW content. This just means your Redditing will probably be restricted to home.

The Reddit layout can also be….jarring. There’s a lot of content. Wouldn’t be surprised if a new user bounced before making it to the history teacher subreddit they wanted to check out. You adjust.

And while Reddiquette exists, it’s still very much the internet. There are trolls out there, but by and large the edu communities are happy places with constructive dialog.

All this to say: it's unclear. But there is much to gain by poking around the edu spaces. (Very curious to know if educators have had different experiences - drop your stories in the comments.)

Subreddits To Get Started

 

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