2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight: Reddit, You're Doing It Wrong

Written by Megan Simpson | February 26, 2014

Rohit Thawani tells you how to better use Reddit at SXSW 2014

Rohit Thawani is a seasoned Redditor with around 10,000 uploads and link karma. His posts have even made the front page a few times. He’s also been in digital advertising for nearly ten years. On March 10th, he’ll present his SXSW Interactive panel and topic of this Session Spotlight, “Reddit: You're Doing It Wrong.” To connect with him prior to arriving in Austin, follow him on Twitter @vohit4rohit. Of his Twitter account he says, “I try to be funny about the things I care about. I think I have a 25% success rate.”

SXSW: Tell us about your session and how people are “doing” Reddit wrong?
Thawani: Has your brand ever created an AMA for your CEO to answer softball questions, posted memes, or appeared on r/HailCorporate subreddit? If so, this session is for you. Learn to use Reddit to: Gain sick insights, crowdsource creative content, test concepts, recruit an army and get sweet, sweet street cred. You’ll see Reddit marketing gone right and cringe-worthy moments we can laugh at and learn from. (But mostly laugh at.) TL:DR You're doing Reddit wrong. Come to our panel to find out how to do it right.

SXSW: When and where have you spoken about this before?
Thawani: As a digital strategist in a creative agency, I'm often tasked with using the Internet to make brands famous. I get lots of great insights and inspiration from the content and discussion on Reddit, and am very vocal that my clients and coworkers get on there to start absorbing the culture. But, I become even more vocal when they try posting crappy ads on Reddit. With my job, I always have much to say about Reddit.

SXSW: Who will benefit from hearing your panel?
Thawani: Anyone who intends to use the power of Reddit for marketing their products or ideas (agencies, PR people, brands, developers, creators, startups, filmmakers) will benefit greatly. From BuzzFeed to HuffPo to CNN to ESPN to the New York Times, the Internet is using Reddit as THE up-to-the-minute source of online culture. A great portion of SXSW attendees are Redditors tied to marketing, and this panel will help them use Reddit in an authentic, powerful way. They'll also learn how to avoid getting flamed by the intelligent, marketing-aware Reddit audience.

SXSW: Do participants need to be familiar with Reddit to understand this panel?
Thawani: This panel is open to anyone who's ever been on the Internet. We'll spend a couple minutes describing what Reddit is for those who are unfamiliar, but spend the majority of the time entertaining with case studies and best practices.

SXSW: Aside from your own, which sessions at SXSW Interactive 2014 are you most excited about and why?
Thawani: I'm big into interface and really excited about discussions pertaining to how our interaction with the objects in our life is changing and becoming more human. I'm also thoroughly interested in medical science and learning about nanotechnology for both healing and human enhancement. Then there's panels with the voices of our generation, like Al Gore and Elon Musk, from previous years that are great.

SXSW: While in Austin for SXSW, do you tend to hang out with old friends or try to meet new people?
Thawani: During the day I'll go to panels by myself because I'm very particular about the panels I attend. I don't want to waste time with something I'm not interested in. That's when I make new friends - often the people I sit next to or talk with afterwards as we walk out. At night, I'll meet up with the friends I already have.

SXSW: What’s the best SXSW Interactive session you’ve attended?
Thawani: I'll never forget my all-time favorite panel at my first SXSW in 2011: Transmedia Storytelling: Constructing Compelling Characters and Narrative Threads by Dr. Barbara Vance. Her enthusiasm and creative method gave me such a fresh perspective on how I tell stories.

SXSW: Not necessarily related to your speaking topic at SXSW, what is your favorite book from the last year and why?
Thawani: In January I read The Twelve, by Justin Cronin. It's the second book in The Passage Trilogy, about the vampire apocalypse and it's aftermath generations from now. It's riveting and the final book comes out later this year.

SXSW: Here’s a fun one unrelated to SXSW - what’s your favorite gadget and why?
Thawani: My Mophie Powerstation is the best gadget I own. I carry one (sometimes two) with me in my bag everywhere I go so that I never run out of power on my phone. That means I never miss a moment to capture with my phone's camera or to get out of a jam with an app when I need to.

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. For tips on interesting sessions to attend, visit the new Recommendation page. Register now to attend “Reddit, You're Doing It Wrong” and other incredible programming at SXSW Interactive 2014.