Recently, I helped establish BioSky – a website dedicated to making medical and health research accessible to people without a scientific background. As we’ve been adding content to the site, I’ve been posting the links to multiple social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit.
If I had to pick only one platform to use, it would undoubtedly be Reddit. I’ve had this view for a while, but a recent experience in the /r/Biology subreddit, where I posted an article explaining prions really solidified my opinion.
So what happened? Well, over the weekend I decided I would write an article explaining what prions were and how they caused mad cow disease. I’d learned a little bit about them during my undergraduate studies, and while they are not related to the research I’m undertaking as part of my PhD, I thought writing an explainer article would be a great way for me to understand something I only had a superficial understanding of.
After I read through some textbooks and papers, I wrote the article and posted it to all the social networks mentioned above. Right away, I could tell from my website analytics that by far the majority of the people reading the article were coming directly from Reddit. This has been fairly standard for everything I’ve written and linked to online.
The fantastic thing that happened was that a Reddit user undertaking a PhD with a focus on prions was happy to give me some detailed notes on how I could improve the article. I learned a lot from the exchange and it ended up being one of the best experiences I’ve had on Reddit. The updated article is now much clearer and informative thanks to this feedback.
This is the reason why I will continue to share my work on Reddit; be it articles about programming here, or medical research on BioSky. While the feedback can be dispiritingly nasty at times from some individuals (although thankfully not in the science-based subreddits), I find that the good people I meet and the feedback I receive overwhelmingly outweighs the bad.
It is for this reason that I encourage anyone who is blogging to give it a try posting links to your content in relevant subreddits. I believe that so long as you are humble and demonstrate a willingness to respond and improve your content based on genuine feedback, that your understanding of the topics you’re passionate enough to write about will be the better for it.