Reddit claims to be the front page of the internet but what does that look like and how does it apply to lawyers and other business professionals? In this episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell talk about Reddit, what it is, and how you can and should use it as a tool in your business.
In the audience question section, Dennis and Tom answer an audio question about cybersecurity for solo and small firms from ABA president-elect Bob Carlson. As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for the answers to your most burning tech questions.
The Kennedy-Mighell Report
Is reddit a Business Tool?
Intro: Web 2.0, Innovation, Trend, Collaboration, Software, Metadata… Got the world turning as fast as it can, here how technology can help, legally speaking with two of the top legal technology experts, authors and lawyers, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to The Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to Episode 209 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy in St. Louis.
Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we’d like to thank our sponsors.
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Dennis Kennedy: And we would also like to thank ServeNow, a nationwide network of trusted, prescreened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume serves, embrace technology and understand the litigation process. Visit HYPERLINK “http://www.serve-now.com/”serve-now.com to learn more.
In our last episode, we discussed the idea of the daily me, and the best way to get the news you want. In this episode, wait, we have a breaking story, and an exclusive story, The Kennedy-Mighell Report announces the news that the second edition of our book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies’ is now available in the ABA Online Bookstore.
Tom Mighell: We didn’t announce that earlier.
Dennis Kennedy: We’re announcing it again in an exclusive, and in this episode of the podcast, we were thinking about the podcast tag line the other day. The tagline is A Podcast on Legal Technology with an Internet Focus, so we decided, well, let’s focus on an aspect of the Internet we haven’t talked about before.
So, we’ll be diving into the world of reddit. Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well, Dennis, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report we will indeed be discussing reddit, which calls itself the front page of the Internet. In our second segment we are excited to have an audience question that we’re looking forward to answering, and as usual, we’ll finish up with our parting shots that one tip website or observation you can start to use the second that this podcast is over.
But, first up, reddit. I’ve been using reddit mostly informally for the last couple of years, but I have to admit, Dennis, I was a little surprised that you wanted to talk about it. As we’re going discuss in a minute the demographics of reddit don’t exactly match those of our audience. So, I’ll ask, Dennis, what got you ready to talk about reddit?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, I read it on reddit. Did you see what I did there?
Tom Mighell: Yeah.
Dennis Kennedy: So, as usual for me I’ve been listening to a number of podcasts where people were talking about reddit recently, and one of those included an interview with the CEO of reddit, Steve Huffman, and I thought, maybe it was time to revisit reddit in a serious way and consider its potential.
So, maybe, Tom, we should talk of a little bit in sort of general and to make more specific terms what reddit actually is.
Tom Mighell: Sure. So, I mean, I think that as you kind of started to allude to, reddit is really one of the purest examples of the old-time discussion board, which has been around on the Internet for a long time, although reddit hasn’t been around quite that long, I think it started in 2005. If we’re reading a full definition of what reddit is I’m just going to take your note straight from our script and say that reddit is an American social news aggregation web content rating and discussion website and users can submit content, they can have discussions, we’re going to talk a little bit about how you have discussions and how they’re different from maybe other discussion boards that are out there.
I definitely think reddit is an interesting tool to use. There’s no question that reddit has tons and tons and tons of traffic, it is a very popular, very heavily trafficked site that has lots and lots of content that’s being added to it on a regular basis.
I think, Dennis, what are some of the numbers when it comes to how popular reddit is?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, this is one of the reasons I thought we should talk about reddit, because the numbers are really pretty amazing. So, 540 million monthly visits, so it ranks as the number four most visited website in the US, and number six in the world, according to Alexa Internet, and 57.4% of its user base actually comes from the US.
The latest stats I saw were from a couple years ago, 82.5 billion page views, 73 million submissions, 725 million comments, and almost 7 billion upvotes from its users.
Well, and maybe we will talk about the upvotes because that is the way that reddit is sort of unique — I don’t know, uniquely, but it’s sort of a key thing about reddit is that people as they read comments, can react to them and either upvote or downvote, so it surfaces either the best or the most popular comments to the top of what you read.
Tom Mighell: Well, so here are some statistics that you didn’t mention and this is really where my curiosity about talking about this topic in the podcast this week comes from, which is the demographics. The demographics are almost 70% male and almost 60% in the 18 to 29 age range.
So, this is clearly a tool that is primarily being used by younger male audience. And so, my challenge, although I suspect that you and I may come from the same direction when we think about reddit, my challenge to you is, I’ll come back and say, you read it on reddit, but why really do you want to talk about reddit?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, because I think that you have to look at what people on the Internet are actually using, and so you get rumblings that people are moving away from Facebook and looking at other things. We did a podcast while back on Snapchat and Instagram which definitely young people are moving to, but when you see those kinds of numbers — billions of page views, 73 millions submissions, there’s an audience out there and I don’t think that a lot of our listeners and I would say a lot of the lawyers in our audience are aware of what type of audience is actually out there even if they are familiar with the tools.
So I think that’s a part of it and then those people who use reddit seem to use it to find news and other things that you and I might use Twitter for or something else.
So I think it’s potentially a big area of usage that a lot of us just aren’t as familiar with, and you said — as you said, Tom, it’s a little bit demographics, we’re a little older these days and so it’s kind of funny. It’s not the first place I would go, but it’s been around a long time.
Tom Mighell: Okay. Fair enough, fair enough. Let’s talk maybe about some of the concepts of reddit and how it works, and just kind of describe how it’s put together, because although it’s a discussion board, you need to learn the terminology, you need to understand some of the features that are available.
People who use reddit I think are called redditors. The discussion boards are divided into something called subreddits. So it’s a /r, which gives you the types of page that you want to look for.
So, let’s say that you’re interested in looking for information on travel to Italy. There will be a subreddit on travel to Italy. There are at last count well over 1 million subreddits on reddit. So that’s 1 million different topics that are out there for you to go and talk about, to post questions, have discussions, those types of things.
As Dennis mentioned there’s upvoting, so you go and post information and people will respond to that, whether it’s a question or you are posting a link to something or an image, people will comment and then you vote up or down those comments which helps to give you karma. So, the karma is an important feature apparently on reddit and the more karma you have the better, and I guess the higher regard you are kept in the reddit community.
One other popular thing that reddit has is the — you may have seen on the news the Ask Me Anything, where celebrities will go on to reddit for a period of time and they’ll do an Ask Me Anything where anybody can come on and ask any question at all in the world and it usually leads to some really interesting conversations and there are some celebrities who’ve gotten in some trouble online, there’s some who were not quite as popular as they thought that they were, but if reddit is well-known for that.
The last thing I’ll leave with is that you actually can take a bunch of subreddits, let’s say that you’re interested in a bunch of topics on travel, you’re traveling to Italy and you want to put the Rome subreddit with the Venice subreddit and Milan subreddit, you can actually do something called a multireddit, which is grouping a bunch of topics together into the same place and that’s another way to consume the information.
So, it’s really kind of a powerful site in terms of consuming information. There are a lot of different features to it, it’s not just going on and reading a bulletin board, there’s a lot more to it than probably meets the eye.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, I mean, so there is a notion of — you are a registered user, people can be anonymous, you can sort of follow different redditors. So there are a number of things out there where you can track the stuff that you’re interested in. I guess that to me there’s a notion of — there’s a reddit front page where you can kind of see what’s trending, what’s new, what’s hot, those sorts of things, which reminded me a lot of Twitter trending, especially when I looked at it this morning when it seemed like they were both tracking about the same stories. So, I see that you could use it as a — this sort of news, trending service and then also dig deeper into the subreddit. So today I was looking at a few things that might interest people. There are some legal things definitely. There’s a legal tech subreddit that didn’t seem like it had a lot of activity. There were some other things that were related to — I looked up home pods, I looked up the iPhone 10 that I’m thinking about getting and so it’s sort of good because I’ve complained in the past that I don’t like Google anymore to find reviews, or products. So I could see how reddit could actually become useful resource on that and you’ll find answers to a number of questions.
What I realized is that I’ve kind of fallen in over the last couple of years to a service called Quora, which is a question and answer thing, sort of a discussion board that has some similarities; so, there are some other things like reddit out there. But definitely to me something interesting to look into, and I think it works in the way that you would expect, Tom, there’s — I mean there’s search, there are other things that you can, you could go into, you can identify favorite places that you want to go back to. So, very handy service in a lot of way, nothing totally unexpected, although there are some apps that make it a little bit easier for people to use reddit, am I getting the hang of it?
Tom Mighell: You are. I think if it comes to the legal aspect of reddit, I didn’t actually find the legal tech subreddit, but I will tell you that there’s not a lot of legal content on there. What surprised me is that the subreddits that have the most participation in the legal field are legal advice, and the scary thing there is, there’s no way to tell whether anybody there is actually qualified to give legal advice. So, I think that if you’re going to use reddit, you’re not going to necessarily use it for a legal purpose. What I mean by that is a law-related purpose, maybe I should say as a better way to put that. In my opinion the best way to consume reddit is to identify the subreddit topics that interest you and focus and follow those.
So, for example, I have my Google Pixel phone. There is a whole subreddit on the Pixel phone and I get people asking questions or talking about how to use it or talking about new features.
When I was traveling to China and Japan last year I subscribed to both China and Japan subreddits and I got lots of great travel advice. I’m probably outing myself here as a fan of World of Warcraft, but there are some great World of Warcraft subreddits on there where you can get hints and tips on how to play the game a little bit better.
I find that what’s interesting is, is that in contributing to reddit, there’s lots of rules for posting, which is nice. It’s not just a free-for-all. There is something called reddiquette. I guess I had to practice that, reddiquette, which is an etiquette around it. There’s no self-promotion, you shouldn’t submit a lot of links quickly. I think the rules are pretty reasonable. They’re designed to keep an organized community, which is nice, which is sort of refreshing for something like this and a lot of the subreddits have rules for posting. For example, on the science reddit you cannot post anything about research that is less than six months old.
So, I think they’ve got some interesting ground rules, depending on the reddits that you have, depending on the etiquette that they choose to follow. So, it’s not just a Wild West out there, it actually has some order, it is self-policed. Each one of the subreddits has a moderator, and I think it’s really — I think it’s really interesting. I guess maybe the question, Dennis, that I have is, what’s the best use of reddit for lawyers?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, I think that’s the question. I don’t ask it in a different way for our listeners. Are you the audience for reddit? In my sense when I’m in reddit, is I feel that you need to participate. So, you probably need to register, you need to do some upvoting and downvoting. You need to be involved, you probably need to participate, and so that may not be your style. So, I think, are you the right audience?
So, when you talked about people just giving legal advice, I think that could be useful to lawyers to see what’s being said to your clients and potential clients so that when you actually talk to a client you can kind of maybe correct some misinterpretations out there. So that could be interesting and it could also let you know what might be — what people are talking about in your specific area of practice, at least in the popular terms, so that’s kind of interesting to me.
And then the other question I think lawyers need to consider is whether their audience is on reddit. So you could find especially in certain specialized areas or really unique areas that this will give you an idea of who are the leaders in that area, what’s going on, what are the topics of conversation and is this a place where you might participate and find potential clients or people that you would want to work with, because there is an audience for you out there.
I think that your answer is going to vary in each case, but I think it is a big area of the Internet that probably bears at least a little — I think it would be worth your while to do a little bit of exploring there, and it could be a place that you find at home or just something that you say, yeah, does it really apply to me?
Your thoughts on that, Tom, do you want to wrap it up or do you think we will — I have never seen a CLE on reddit. Do you think we should start seeing those some time soon?
Tom Mighell: So the answer to that is no. That’s a hard no in my opinion, but let me — I will wrap it up a little bit with kind of my best practices for reddit, which is I prefer actually using an app to consume reddit. I think using it in the browser is sort of cumbersome. However, there are a number of Chrome extensions that can help with that. There are some things that will help make it be a lot cleaner.
Because if you go to the reddit page you will notice, it’s kind of messy, it’s kind of all over the place. There are some Chrome extensions, if you use the Chrome browser that can help with that.
I consume reddit on my iPad and I really like the Narwhal App and the Apollo App. We will put links in the show notes for that. But whatever is the best way to consume it, it’s just another resource to consume on the Internet. We run the risk of talking about too many ways to consume information on the Internet and you have just got to find out, does this have content that is relevant to you either as an attorney or just as a person trying to get information on technology or other things that are going on in your life.
I honestly do not think that there’s going to be a CLE on reddit going, but I do think that reddit is something that lawyers need to be aware of. I think it’s a resource, I think it can be used for good purposes and I think it’s probably worth your while to give it a shot.
Before we move on to our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy. We are excited to have a listener question to answer and it’s from the President-Elect of the American Bar Association, Bob Carlson. Let’s hear the question and let Tom start the answer.
Bob Carlson: Hi Dennis and Tom. My name is Bob Carlson. I am the President-Elect of the American Bar Association and I am from a small firm in Butte, Montana. The question I have and I know that a lot of lawyers and small firms have is with respect to technology related to how they protect their clients’ secrecy and the information that they have on their desktops, their portable devices, iPads, iPhones, Droids, whatever, what’s the best technology that you have found for cybersecurity, for protecting the devices from outside hacking and the tips you could give us to tell their office staff about how to best protect their devices?
Tom Mighell: All right. So Bob’s question is limited to solo and small firms. In my opinion, the same rules apply today for cybersecurity as did 10 years ago, even though the threats have changed and the nature of the threats have changed, when we first started talking about this, when we were really talking about how to protect yourself.
And I am going to really talk about this from a high level, because it’s not necessarily enough to just talk about specific products that we would recommend, I think that a solo or small firm needs to have the basics to protect the bad people from getting in, that’s what a good cybersecurity defense requires, which means having good antivirus, having a good firewall, having software, if it’s separate, that prevents malware from getting in, having tools to prevent ransomware from getting in. Although in a minute, I will tell you that it’s usually people that are the problem there.
And I have to say that having that protection at your Internet gateway is probably the best idea. Stopping it before it can get to your computers or your network. I have been really liking the fact that I have eero on my eero network at home. I have eero Plus, which is designed to provide a layer of security at the gateway before it even gets to my computer, and it tells me every week all the threats that it blocks from getting to my computer, which is really nice.
I think making sure that you have got appropriate encryption on your devices; particularly your laptops and phones, because cybersecurity is about protecting your firm from yourself, and from your employees, and a lot of confidential firm data is lost these days from losing a device, having it stolen, things like that.
But frankly in terms of tips, my number one advice is to provide training to your staff on how to protect company information, show them what a phishing email looks like and teach them how to avoid it, demonstrate I think the different types of social engineering that exists so that they are going to recognize it when they see it.
I think an educated staff should be a more secure protected staff and I think that can sometimes go farther than even the best technology that you are going to choose for, for your firm.
Dennis, what am I missing?
Dennis Kennedy: Well, I have a number of practical things that I insist on and I don’t think everybody follows. One, I am a huge believer in installing updates as soon as they come out, especially security updates. It’s just shocking to me the number of people who don’t install the Windows and other updates.
So I think that’s really significant. Strong passwords, you have just got to enforce that as a policy. Multifactor authorization I think has become really important.
Probably one of the best and simplest things you can do is to encrypt your hard drive, so that if your laptop is stolen that somebody can’t pull the hard drive out of it and get the information off of that because you have encrypted the hard drive. That’s almost a check to box on the Mac and I think it’s similar in Windows these days.
Then just talk to people about the basics. And it’s astonishing to me that people will still click on email attachments that they don’t know what they are and then the other thing Tom that shocks me the most these days is how easy people still give up personal information that’s often used for security questions.
And so all the time I see on Facebook, people answering these lists of like 10 questions that are sort of like, what was the model, the first car you drove? What was your first address? What’s your mother’s maiden name? I mean, I exaggerate a little bit, but a lot of those quizzes and shared things are designed to get information that people use for security questions. So keep that in mind.
So there are a number of things, and I think you are right Tom, it does boil down to some kind of formal training on a regular basis, probably a couple of times a year.
Now it’s time for our parting shots, that one tip, website or observation that you can use the second this podcast ends. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: So my parting shot is something that I have been enjoying the past week, since I got back from ABA TECHSHOW and it is a new iPad stand that I purchased called the Yohann iPad stand. And a little pricey, but it is a beautiful stand.
And what makes it nice is it comes in several different wood finishes, or it’s not wood finishes, it’s several different pieces of wood, so you can get in oak or walnut; I believe there there’s a cherry available as well. It’s available for the iPad Pro, the regular iPad or there’s one for a MacBook. And what makes this different is it’s not just a regular stand, it has three different — it kind of looks like a little semicircle or an arc, it kind of has a look like an arc and that’s because it has three different positions to it.
So you can actually put the stand up so that you are actually looking down at the iPad, which I found incredibly useful in the kitchen while I am cooking and I want to look at a recipe, or I can put it on the farthest one up so that it’s standing straight up and I can look at it at my desk and have it as a monitor or have it as something else that I am using.
I had thought at one point in time that iPad stands had kind of done everything that they could and there was nothing new under the sun and then I found this and I am actually loving using this around the house and in the office as well. It’s called the Yohann iPad stand.
Dennis Kennedy: Tom, I think you should do a subreddit on that topic as into it as you seem to be.
So other than the Second Edition of our Collaboration Tools and Technologies book, Tom, I thought I would mention an article on our blog post by our friend Allison Shields on her Legal Ease blog called Power Up Your LinkedIn Headline.
And this has a lot of great practical information for people who want to get better results out of LinkedIn. And it’s a big thing in LinkedIn now to get your headlines, so that’s the short summary that you do about yourself to get that right and this blog post has a lot of great practical pointers. If you read this and implement these, you are going to go to the head of the class on LinkedIn.
Tom Mighell: And so that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast.
You can find show notes for this episode at HYPERLINK “http://www.tkmreport.com/” tkmreport.com. If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on the Legal Talk Network site, where you can find archives of all of our previous podcasts.
If you would like to get in touch with us, please find us on LinkedIn or on Twitter or you can again send us a voicemail question; you heard we played one in this episode today. We love to get voicemails from our audience, so please give us a call. That number is 720-441-6820. That’s 720-441-6820.
So until the next podcast, I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy, and you have been listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an Internet focus.
If you liked what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcasts and we will see you next time for another episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together’ from ABA Books or Amazon, and join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, only on the Legal Talk Network.
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