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Reddit for Medicine: 10 Tips on getting started!

People talk about using 'SoMe' in Medical Education more and more every day: it's all the rage with the MedEd kids! Twitter and Facebook are pretty well explained out there on the world wide web. But what of Reddit: the 'front page of the internet'? How do we get started? Victoria Emerson provides a handy guide...

Social media is taking over all walks of life – and the world of Medical Education is no exception.
There's evidence of students and educators using social media like twitter, Facebook and even Vine (*cough… Medisense… cough*) in their teaching and learning. But what about Reddit, the so called ‘front page of the internet’? Should they be left out of the fun of lewd mnemonics, quirky cartoons and Ryan Gosling memes? Not if we have anything to do with it...
So here’s a quick and easy guide on how to get started on Reddit for medical students and educators.

1. Firstly, you need to make an account, picking whatever username you like. Be creative! You can’t be too random on Reddit. This is important: do you want to be confidential, or do you want to show off your identity? Remember to be safe and sensible on social media! Once you’ve set up your account you’re all set to go.

2. Reddit is broken down into ‘subreddits’ and’ threads’. Subreddits are marked using /r/, such as /r/medicine. /r/medicine is known as meddit, a subreddit for medical professionals. You can ‘subscribe’ to as many subreddits are you want, and threads from these will then appear on your home page. Just try not to get too greedy: otherwise your page will be as packed as a rushed ward-round scrawl.

3. Some useful subreddits are listed below:

For medical school students

A subreddit asking questions about science, with a medicine section

A place to share new findings. Read about the latest advances in astronomy, biology, medicine and physics

Explain like I’m 5 - this is a subreddit for asking questions (about any topic including science and medicine) where looking for simplified responses, as if giving (an excellent) explanation to a young child.

Today I learned:
This is a subreddit for posting interesting facts people have learnt with links for more information

News, academic articles, and discussion of pharmacology and toxicology

Free Open Access Medical Education
A community for healthcare professionals and students to share free online learning resources.

4. You can ‘upvote’ and ‘downvote’ other threads and comments, as well as reply to comments. You can even ‘guild’ someone. This means that, if you really like or appreciate a particular comment, you can donate money to Reddit and the comment or thread gets given a gold star. This is totally optional, however, and Reddit is a free resource. Donations keep reddit online, and ‘guilding’ is quite popular.

5. Within subreddits you can form a new thread by posting content. This can be then be upvoted or downvoted by other redditors who can also comment. The more upvotes you get the more ‘karma’ you get. ‘Karma’ is a score that you are given based on the number of popular comments you make, and helps you stand out as a committed redditor!

6. Like a terribly unprofessional set of medical notes, Reddit appears to have its own language with loads of abbreviations. Here is a list to help you get started:

TIL: Today I learned
ELI5: Explain like I’m five
IMO: In my opinion
IME: In my experience
FTFY: Fixed that for you
ITT: In this thread
AFAIK: As far as I know
AMA: Ask me anything
CMV: Change my view
DAE: Does anybody else
IAMA: I am a
IANAD: I am not a doctor
IANA: I am not a lawyer
IIRC: If I recall correctly
NSFW; Not safe for work
OP: Original poster
TL;DR: Too long; Didn't read
YSK: You should know

7. As well as the language of Reddit there is also a mascot! This is the loveable Snoo. You’ll see multiple variations of him everywhere, so don’t be afraid: he’s your friend!

8. Be careful of the mods! These are the moderators, they are normal redditors like you or me but they do have some special powers: much like a surgeon, but without the ego. These include removing links, comments or abuse from a subreddit and ensuring that everyone in that community follows the rules. They are friendly and just want to keep Reddit a nice place to enjoy.

9. Obviously remember that anyone can read what you post so be careful with personal information and all that medic chat: confidentiality and anonymity!

10. Be sure to browse Reddit and use it for so many other things, not just medical education. Be careful: if you find something that you didn’t want to see you can always feel better with /r/eyebleach (disclaimer, this is not actually bleach but lots of cute and cuddly things which will definitely be fun and safe to look at!

Happy redditing! If you have any suggestions to add to the ten tips - drop them in the comments section below!

Guest Blog: Victoria Emerson, 24.10.2016


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