After unveiling its Clubhouse clone last April, Reddit is adding new features to Reddit Talk that are intended to boost engagement. Among these additions are web compatibility, recordings of past sessions, live commenting during talks and a live bar at the top of the home feed (similar to Twitter’s) that shows what live chats are taking place.
“In the last three months, we’ve seen more than 250% growth in daily active listeners of Reddit Talk,” the company wrote on its blog. Reddit added that live audio chats have taken place in over 1,000 subreddits (or communities), including a talk in r/cryptocurrency with investor Kevin O’Leary, and a session in r/movies with stuntmen from the “Jackass” franchise.
The idea of live audio rooms on Reddit might seem a bit counterintuitive at first, since many Redditors flock to the platform for anonymity. But the ability to comment and send emojis during live rooms will make it easier for shy (or secretive) users to chime in — previously, listeners could only speak by raising their (digital) hand. Plus, discovery features like web compatibility, the live bar and asynchronous listening will make it easier for users to engage with this new realm of Reddit content.
Talks still can only be created on Reddit’s iOS and Android apps, but the ability to start a talk on desktop is coming later this month, Reddit wrote.
Currently, only Reddit moderators (volunteers who try their darndest to keep things civil and orderly in subreddits) can start live talks. They can apply to host a talk through a Google Form. Given the content moderation struggles that platforms like Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse have faced, this might be a good way for Reddit to keep things under control for now.
“There aren’t any plans to extend the live audio feature to Reddit users outside of moderators,” a Reddit spokesperson told TechCrunch.
Update, 2/9/22, 3:10 PM ET with comment from Reddit.