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How to start on Reddit

It’s the world’s 12th most visited website but yet to take off in South Africa. That spells opportunity, writes KATIE CHODOSH, content consultant for B2B public relations agency TopLine Comms and TopLine Film

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Despite being one of the biggest websites in the world, Reddit hasn’t caught on in South Africa. It’s the 12th most visited website in the world, but it’s only the 37th in South Africa. And according to Hootsuite’s and We Are Social’s annual Global Digital Yearbook for 2019, Reddit doesn’t feature in the top 10 social platforms in South Africa (Facebook was number one, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp).

This a shame, to say the least. Reddit is where most viral content is aggregated, so if you want to know what’s happening on the Internet or you’re creating content that you want to go viral, you need to be on it.

But the best thing about it is the data it holds: because everyone is anonymous, Reddit knows everyone’s secrets. That makes it a great place for market research and some honest advice. 

Getting started with Reddit can be tough, as there’s a seemingly endless amount of content. Here a handy guide for your first steps:

Get to know subreddits

When you first sign up to Reddit, you’ll want to start subscribing to subreddits (or subs). These are dedicated channels on topics where you can post links, images or create a self-post to discuss whatever you like. You can subscribe to subs if you like the topic, and all posts from that sub will show up on your homepage. If you’re unsure what subreddit you’re looking at, look at the part that comes immediately after the r/ at the end of the URL (for example, https://www.reddit.com/r/southafrica/ is a sub on everything related to South Africa). Anyone with an old enough account can create a sub on any topic they like. 

How to identify a good subreddit

Once you’ve found some subreddits you, check for the following:

  • The member count: You can see how many members are in the sub on the sidebar. A lot of members indicate that the content posted is relevant, but smaller subs can have higher engagement and interaction.
  • Check if it’s US-centric – Reddit is a global website, but some subs are very US-centric, so it’s worth checking whether the content is only for a US audience.
  • Rules: All subreddits have to obey reddit’s reddiquette, but moderators can (and should) also impose their own rules. Stricter rules help keep the sub relevant. 
  • Active moderators: Moderators (or mods) are supposed to keep the sub on-topic and rule-abiding. Weekly updates/sticky posts are usually a sign of an active mod team.

Pro tip: Once you set up an account, download the Boost app if you use Android, or the Apollo app if you use iOS – they’re much better than the official Reddit app. 

Some of the best subs to start following

If you’re interested in technology, the best place to start is r/Technology. With over 8 million members, it’s a really large sub, but it’s moderated well and the rules are enforced. There’s a sticky post for weekly discussion and plenty of engagement on posts. It is America-centric, but as so many tech topics are global, it’s still worth including. Other smaller subs worth checking out in the tech category include r/MachineLearning, r/tech and r/Futurology.

If you work in marketing, there are some great subs that you can use as a resource. 

Try the small marketing communities at r/digital_marketing, r/DigitalMarketing, and r/AskMarketing for questions and discussions about the industry. If you’re interested in filming and videography, you might like the recommendations from our video production agency. They’re big fans of /r/editors as a useful resource for tips and advice. They also like r/cinematography, which is an active resource for cinematographers of all skill levels, and, for a bit of fun, r/praisethecameraman – a sub dedicated to good camera operators who keep a proper recording angle, regardless of the content itself.

There are loads of cute animal subs, too, for your downtime. Beyond the massive r/aww, try r/MasterReturns for videos and pictures of dogs (and other pets!) being reunited with their owners after an extended absence. Or you might like self-proclaimed ‘cutest subreddit on the internet’, r/tippytaps, filled with pets tippy tappying in excitement and happiness.

There are some other business subreddits worth checking out, too. r/business has tips from business owners as well as the top business stories from around the world. If you’re working at a startup, you’ll want to follow r/startups, the place to discuss startup problems and solutions. Similarly, r/smallbusiness is a great resource full of questions and answers about starting, owning, and growing a small business.

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TikTok takes on COVID-19

The fastest growing social media platform in the world has also become an epicenter of public education about the coronavirus, attracting more than 30-billion views, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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The young have been getting a bad rap for wanting to party on while COVID-19 sends the world into lockdown. But a different movie is playing itself out on the social platform that is growing fastest among teenagers: TikTok.

Awareness campaigns by TikTok itself, collaboration with the International Red Cross, and spontaneous videos made by TikTok creators have combined into a barrage of information, education, awareness and social consciousness around the coronavirus.

Both globally and in South Africa, TikTok’s COVID-19 campaigns have gone viral.

The local #HayiCorona challenge, designed to remind people not to touch their face and wash hands regularly, has passed 1.5-million views. The TikTok collaboration with the International Red Cross, the #WashingHands challenge, has passed 12.6-million views.

One of the best-known participants in these challenges is the past year’s icon of South African talent, the Ndlovu Youth Choir, took up the global challenge with a 20-second hand-washing video. It put together a performance that brings tremendous energy to what can be a clichéd message, and ends with a punt for the Department of Health’s WhatsApp information service. The video can be viewed below.

@ndlovuyouthchoir

Our community has limited access to running water. Follow these instructions on how to safely wash your hands using a bucket. ##coronavirus##washinghands

♬ original sound – ndlovuyouthchoir

“On a global scale, TikTok also partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that, while creators are still having fun and expressing themselves on the platform, they stay informed with COVID-19 information coming from a reliable source,” a TikTok spokesperson told us. “Through the partnership, the WHO has created an informational page on TikTok that offers information to curb the spread of the coronavirus as well as dispelling myths.”

The page can be viewed at https://vm.tiktok.com/GHTEGf

TikTok has hosted a number of livestreams with WHO experts, attracting users from more than 70 countries, tuning in for live question and answer sessions. It has also introduced labels on coronavirus-related videos, to point users to trusted information. Resources are also offered directly in the app and in a dedicated COVID-19 section of TikTok’s Safety Center, at https://www.tiktok.com/safety/resources/covid-19.

If users simply want to explore videos on the topic, they can search via the #coronavirus hashtag, or click on https://vm.tiktok.com/swKbn4. The hashtag has had an astonishing 33.8-billion views, indicating the scale of activity and interest around the topic on the platform.

Read more on the next page about how South Africans have embraced the campaign.

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On World Backup Day: backup, backup, backup

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It was World Backup Day yesterday, 31 March, at a time when business continuity is threatened as never before. That makes calls for protecting email and defending against ransomware all the more urgent.

The global coronavirus pandemic has brought into stark relief many organisations’ lack of business continuity plans and policies. With more than two billion people around the globe in forced lockdown in wide-ranging government efforts to stem the tide of infections, an unprecedented number of employees are working remotely.

This interruption to the normal way of work is precisely what an effective and resilient business continuity strategy should plan for, says Heino Gevers, cybersecurity specialist at Mimecast

“Companies need uninterrupted access to critical business applications during times of disruption, including safe and secure web and email access for workers that are now operating outside the normal perimeters of the organisation,” he says. “In addition, comprehensive backup and archiving solutions should be ready to restore access to critical business applications should there be any unplanned downtime to ensure continuity until the crisis passes.”

According to Gevers, the current global crisis is likely to push business continuity up the list of priorities for many organisations that have been disrupted by the effects of the coronavirus.

“Organisations are facing new challenges to their productivity; for example in terms of technical support. If a remote user is infected with malware or ransomware, how does the IT team restore that device or do any remediation without being able to physically access it?”

Gevers advises that organisations implement tools that enhances the data protection capabilities of commonly-used tools such as Office365 and can leverage archived data to provide quick recovery of email data in the event of accidental loss, malicious attacks or technical failure. 

“As adoption of cloud-based business applications grow in the wake of forced lockdowns around the globe, companies need to ensure they have the tools to recover in any situation,” he says. “This includes a data management strategy that combines archiving, backup and data protection capabilities to allow for quick restoration of critical systems and applications in the event of disruption.”

Jasmit Sagoo, head of technology at Veritas for the United Kingdom and Ireland, warns that this is a golden age for cybercriminals looking for ransomware opportunities.

“As the global cost of ransomware continues to grow, this World Backup Day, Veritas is saying: ‘don’t pay up, back up!’,” he says. “Ransomware is said to generate an estimated annual revenue of $1 billion a year, and companies who are not consistent in backing up their data are allowing criminals to line their pockets.

“Ransomware attacks exist only because some businesses can’t survive unless the hackers give them back their data.  So, the key to survival is removing that reliance and being able to regain access to data, without engaging with the cybercriminals.  The best way to do that is with a sound backup strategy.

“Sagoo advises organisations to create isolated, offline backup copies of their data to keep it out of reach of any attackers.  They then need to proactively monitor and restrict backup credentials, while running backups frequently to shrink the risk of potential data loss. Businesses should also test and retest their ransomware defences regularly.

“Ransomware strikes without warning and it doesn’t discriminate between its targets – it can happen to any organisation, large or small. Despite their best efforts, most companies will fall to at least one attack. What distinguishes one victim from another is the ability to bounce back, which ultimately depends on its backup strategy.

“When ransomware hits, organisations that aren’t prepared often feel helpless to do anything other than to submit to their attacker’s demands.   That’s why we’re urging all businesses to use World Backup Day as a catalyst to get ahead of the situation and get their data protected.”

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