Reddit introduces channels to chat in, just like we know from Telegram, Discord and Slack. Reddit is known for more of a discussion group-slash forum concept, which makes it a major expansion that chat channels are now being added. However, it probably does not necessarily only do this for the users: it seems to be mainly about a fierce competition with other chat programs, such as Discord and Telegram.
Reddit is extremely popular: it has 430 million monthly active users, which makes it a huge site. In fact, as of February 2023, it is the 10th most visited website in the world. It’s a place to share memes, frustrations about tech not working, leaks around games and phones, and more. Reddit has been around since 2005, although it experienced enormous growth especially in 2017 and 2018 and only then did it really become what it is today. One of the most important facets of Reddit is how it ranks: other users can upvote or downvote your reply to a thread.
Although it is a somewhat American-focused medium (half of the users come from the United States, then another 8 percent from the United Kingdom and about 6 percent from Canada). But there are also many Dutch people in favor of this invention by two students from the University of Virginia. While the forum element is very important, Reddit is expanding. It will soon have chat channels. They have already been introduced on 25 of those subreddits and the idea is that you can then build on a more specific part of a topic in real time.
Normally Reddit is a bit less direct: although there is indeed an immediate response, the forum setup is very different from a chat channel, where you have to speak much more directly. Or well, you have to: even in a channel on Telegram or Slack you really don’t have to respond very quickly, but the setup is faster: there is little space between the previous chat and the answer to it. That’s not entirely new to Reddit, though, as it already had Live Chat.
Reddit writes: “First of all, we take a mod-first approach, based on all our experiences with Chat. That means building with mods in mind (tooling, management, etc.) from scratch. Mods even get a special mod-only channel to discuss mod stuff among fellow mods. Second, these will be dedicated spaces, rather than a one-time post floating by. This is your place for general discussion, a place to share random witticisms and comments that you wouldn’t otherwise have in a post.”
According to Reddit, this is just the beginning. It’s now building the feature with its volunteer communities in a small pilot program, and plans to slowly expand to other subreddits. Which subreddits already have it, that is unknown. While it could be a cool addition, we wonder how much it will impact the competition. Discord and Slack are usually used in a different way than Reddit, and those communities have already been built there. On the other hand: we have all seen that the TikTok copy Reels Instagram has certainly done no harm either.