Reddit’s looking to improve discovery of audio rooms in its app, via its Reddit Talks option, with a new showcase of in-progress sessions across the top of the main screen, which will now present rooms from both subreddits that you follow, and those that you may be interceded in.
As you can see in this example, the live bar on your Reddit home feed will now surface talks that you may be interested in based on topics chosen by the creator of the Reddit Talks session. Reddit will then present these links to users in related communities.
“For example, if u/Reddit_IRL wants to talk about house plants, then they can select that as their topic, and redditors who are subscribed to plant-related communities will be able to see u/Reddit_IRL talk in the live bar.”
That could be a good way to get Reddit Talks sessions in front of more users – though it could also be misused, with hosts adding random topics to maximize reach. Still, it’s only along the top of the app, and given it’s not overly intrusive, it likely won’t have a big impact on general usage.
Reddit’s also looking to make it easier for users to start a Reddit Talk session, with some users now able to host talks directly from their profiles.
“Hosting a Talk on your profile is simple! You’ll go into the post creator and click Start Talk, from there you’ll be prompted to select a topic (or topics) that are relevant to your Talk topic.”
That could get more audio sessions happening in the app, by making it easier for Redditors to understand that the option is available to them. Twitter added similar this week within its own tweet composer flow.
And to make things even more exciting, Reddit’s also adding a new soundboard feature in Reddit Talks chats.
“The soundboard will be available on desktop first starting next month and will have eight available sounds: air horn, tada, drumroll, sad trombone, applause, boing, cha-ching, and ba-dum-tss. Use the sounds to liven up the room, play games, or add extra emphasis to the conversation.”
So there’s that.
Finally, Reddit’s also launching a new Reddit Talk Host Program to encourage participation, which will include both in-app and IRL rewards, including Reddit Talk hoodies, branded mics, additional promotion in-stream and more.
People interested in applying for the program can find out more here.
As with all audio social options, it’s hard to say whether Reddit Talks will ever become a key element of the app, with most people now moving on from audio engagement options due to quality and discovery issues.
That, at least theoretically, should be less of an issue on Reddit, because the talks that you see are based on the subreddits that you’ve joined, or related interests, so they should be more specifically relevant to you, without Reddit having to build algorithms to highlight the best sessions to each user in real time.
Maybe that will make it a more valuable consideration, but thus far, only 500 of Reddit’s 100,000 active communities have had access to the option, so it’s a little hard to make a judgment at this stage.
In general, social audio options have lost their shine, and much of their audience, but it’s possible that Reddit could buck the trend, and make Reddit Talk a more relevant aspect of the in-app experience.
Though I’m not sure adding a soundboard will do it. It just reminds me of those generic breakfast radio shows, which could see Reddit Talks sessions decline into messes of audio clips – or knowing Reddit, it could end up sparking bizarre new audio trends, where users communicate only using a single soundboard clip at random intervals.
Maybe it becomes a thing, maybe it falls flat, but there may still be some potential for audio rooms in subreddits.