With audio social still gaining traction, and providing more ways for users to stay connected, it seems that almost every platform is now considering their own take on the function, and how it could be integrated into their app.
And Reddit may be the latest one joining this trend – according to new reports, Reddit’s currently testing its own take on audio social, with audio rooms within subreddits.
“Reddit is quietly exploring a new feature that would enable moderator-run voice chats, possibly similar to Clubhouse, according to a source familiar with the company’s plan. Development is still in the early stages, and was described as confidential.”
Mashable notes that it’s sought clarification from Reddit on the project, which we have as well, but there’s no official confirmation of the project as yet.
But it would make sense.
Reddit’s been working on more options to boost real-time engagement and interaction over the past few years, with the addition of tools like live-streaming, and in-app messaging to better connect users with similar interests.
Reddit’s even tried out random group discussions, which take a somewhat similar approach to audio social.
Last April, Reddit added a new ‘Start Chatting’ prompt within selected subreddits, which, when tapped, launched an enclosed group discussion of up to five members at a time from that same community.
The idea was inspired by the rising use of Reddit’s existing chat features amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, which pointed to demand for more options to connect with those within their favorite communities.
Audio social rooms would seemingly be a perfect avenue for the same, providing a means for Redditors to enhance their community connection and engagement by dropping into real-time chats around their favorite topics, and among Redditors whom they already know and follow in the app.
With the development of Reddit’s video live-streaming capacity, which itself is seeing steady growth, the platform already has the infrastructure to support audio streaming, similar to how Twitter has used Periscope’s back-end for its own audio Spaces feature. As such, it makes sense for Reddit to at least explore the option – and it could end up being a perfect compliment to help boost on-platform engagement.
That would make Reddit the latest to jump onto the audio social trend, which now includes Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as Slack, Discord, and many other separate apps and tools.
That’s not great news for Clubhouse, the originator of the new trend, which is now facing a growing horde of competitors seeking to eat into its audience, many of whom have many more resources and much larger networks to promote their alternate offerings.
The addition of the functionality in subreddits and groups could actually be the worst-case scenario for Clubhouse, with these dedicated, engaged user groups already established, which could keep them more closely aligned to their current apps of choice, as opposed to seeking out a third party provider for their separate audio chats.
Still, the app says that it’s now valued at $4 billion, which seems optimistic. But value is relative to what the market will pay – and if Clubhouse can raise more funding at that price tag, more power to them.
But its future is far from certain, and with a new competitor in the space rising up every week, I wouldn’t be counting on Clubhouse winning out just yet.