Experimenting with Reddit

I am by no means a social media expert.  I did recently add a plugin to my blog that automatically cross links my posts from this blog to Facebook.  At first I was surprised it did this automatically every time I post, but now I’ve become used to it and kind of like it.  It does seem to be driving some traffic here.

Well, as I’m sure you’re aware, I’ve been trying to promote my Insanity Cards pretty aggressively for the short period of time they’re in the crowd sale phase (sale ends Monday, 1/15 at noon).  I noticed on the crowd sale site that they include useful little buttons for posting the sale on various social media sites.  Certainly I don’t need the Facebook button, I’ve pestered my Facebook friends with this thing plenty.  Twitter I’ve never really come to terms with.  Reddit?

I’ve never seriously looked into reddit, so yesterday I thought, let’s find out what this site is all about.  I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert, but for those with even less background than me, here’s what I discovered.  It looks to be basically similar to any online forum – ability to post text, links, images, etc and have comment discussions on such.  The interesting twist seems to be voting.  Every post, heck every comment, you can vote either up or down.  The post has a counter that goes up and down, and I guess the intention is that the really interesting stuff, the stuff that lots of people either comment on or up vote, percolates to the top.  In this regard it’s a little like stackoverflow which I use a lot for work, but instead of the votes measuring correctness of the answer to the question posed, they’re simply measuring raw interest.

So I created an account and I joined some subreddits.  I looked for topics I thought might include my target audience.  While the obvious one would be /r/rpg, I thought I might try first with something a bit less broad.  I ended up joining /r/callofcthulhu and /r/savageworlds.  Cthulhu fans seems obvious for an insanity mechanic, and Savage Worlds is a nice toolkit/generic RPG that is conducive to house ruling and home brewing.  In fact, Savage Worlds is the system I generally use when running my own horror games.

Interestingly, both communities seem to have around 4k subscribers.  I decided to post a link to my crowd sale to each community.  Reddit appears to have two primary kinds of posts – one containing a block of formatted text similar to any forum, while the other is just a blurb of text and a link.  I decided to keep it simple and opted for the latter.  I hope I’m not committing a reddit faux-pas, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Interestingly, the two posts are showing very different results:

As you can see I customized the text a little bit to each community.  To the Call of Cthulhu crowd I tried to emphasize that it’s an alternative to existing rules that makes life easier for the GM.  To the Savage Worlds crowd I emphasized that it works with any setting, since SW has a huge range of settings people play in.  From the votes it would appear that I’m doing much better with the Savage Worlds community than the Call of Cthulhu community.

I think this is really fascinating.  On the one hand, I’d think Call of Cthulhu fans are more likely to be interested in insanity stuff, I mean every Call of Cthulhu game features insanity, while plenty of Savage Worlds settings probably don’t want this kind of mechanic.  Then again, Savage Worlds by nature is a toolkit system with no implied specific setting.  It’s got more of an expectation that the GM must tweak and tune the system for their particular needs, so maybe players of that system are more inclined to be interested in an add-on?

Anyway, I will continue to tinker with it.  Perhaps eventually when I feel a little more comfortable and the sale is closer to ending I’ll cross post over the /r/rpg subreddit – which boasts 150k subscribers.  If anyone reading is a regular reddit user and has recommendations for how to play nice with that community, I’m all ears.

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