Reddit has been going through a bit of a shakeup in the past year. From the introduction of user profiles back in March to the announcement of a fresh, new website redesign, Reddit seems to be slowly morphing into a social network that looks surprisingly close to the others. And if that wasn’t already clear, Reddit will be implementing a complete overhaul of the private messaging system and replacing it with an instant messaging chat-based platform instead, due for a full release in 2018.
When Reddit debuted the chat beta back in September, many users of the platform raised concerns. That’s not unusual: with any changes that Reddit makes, there are always cries of “Stop turning Reddit into Facebook” from their most dedicated users. Despite this, the company plans on steamrolling ahead with the overhaul, doing away with the fairly outdated PM system. And I can’t deny, it looks curiously like Facebook Messenger.
People are able to swap messages in real-time, send links to posts – and most noticeably Facebook-like – send stickers. The website aims to have the functionality for group chat soon after one-to-one chat is implemented.
While Reddit has huge communities of users, they currently don’t have anywhere to stay and chat. This has led to users nipping off the site to use the likes of Discord and Slack, which has become a sort-of surrogate platform for the missing chat capability on-site. It is understandable as to why Reddit wants to bring the users back to the website: instead of having a streamlined chat experience, users are having to find other methods of communicating.
“We’ve seen a lot of people trying to hack IRC systems on top of Reddit. This has been happening for a long time,” Product Manager, Jason Lee, told Mashable. “The reason why we thought it was important to bring it into the fold is because our communities develop really robust rulesets around how they engage with each other. Your identity is tied to your Reddit account and we want to carry that into real-time conversations.”
And despite users reacting fairly negatively to any changes made to Reddit, they feel that it is a necessary process.
“Reddit feels old. We don’t want to be associated with old,” Reddit’s co-founder Steve Huffman told Recode back in July.
This is certainly a step towards that – though whether it’s users will agree that newer equals better remains to be seen.