Yesterday, reddit launched its first mobile app
: an iOS app - Android is on the way - dedicated to showcasing AMAs from the /r/IamA subreddit. AMAs (short for "Ask Me Anything") are Q&A style interviews where users of the site submit questions for interview particpants to answer. The launch of this app is a big step for reddit, who have previously left providing a mobile reddit experience to third-party developers and community members. So, why now, and why just for AMAs?
What is an AMA and why are they so important?
Why did they release an app just for this section of the site?
reddit is made up of thousands of subreddits, covering just about anything
you could want to read links or discussions about. Want to read about video game? /r/games
is the place for you! Want to see men from eastern European states resting on their haunches? Check out /r/slavs_squatting
(SFW). Despite its popularity and diversity, however, reddit does not have its own mobile app. Instead, it relies on third party developers to create apps for a mobile reddit experience via its API (e.g. Alien Blue
, Reddit Is Fun
), so why have they gone and made an app just for AMAs?
Simply put: due to the celebrity draw, /r/IAmA (where the AMAs take place) is becoming a big entry point for the reddit experience. AMAs are now frequently quoted on other news sites, as well as being promoted by participants themselves. So to capitalize on, reddit have made this app to provide casual/new users a "best of" reddit experience. In their own words: "we created this introductory app for people to enjoy some of the best of reddit".
What's the app like?
I'm a keen redditor, and have from playing around with the app today I can defintely say it's a big departure the typical reddit user experience. It feels a lot more like "Secret" and I wouldn't be surprised if it was influenced by this in some way. It's very easy to sort through answered / unanswered questions and just get the responses from the participant, without having to root through big comment threads to get to them. The use of themed icons to describe the type of subject is also a nice visual touch (e.g. a book icon for journalists / authors, sunglasses for actors / general celebrities, a tennis ball for sports stars and so on) and definitely showcases the wide variety of subjects on offer.
What does this mean for reddit's future?
It's hard to imagine how this app experience could apply to other subreddits, however. The lengthy, constantly diverging comment threads are core to the "traditional" reddit experience, after all. That said, it's definitely interesting to see one of the biggest sites on the web finally dip its own toe into mobile, and could signify that they are finally ready to directly cater to a huge segement of their audience.
What do you think of this app? What do you think its launch means for reddit? Let me know in the comments or by tweeting @benjmartin