Reddit is the latest major social media service to move into audio conversations, which Clubhouse has popularized over the last year or so. Subreddit moderators can now apply for access to Reddit Talk and the company will soon start inviting them to try it. Reddit suggests the rooms could be used for "Q&As, AMAs [Ask Me Anything sessions], lectures, sports-radio-style discussions, community feedback sessions" or just hanging out.
At the outset, only subreddit moderators will be able to start a discussion, though they can invite other speakers to co-host with them. Any Reddit user can listen in via iOS and Android. Hosts will be able to kick out users and block them from reentering talks.
Listeners can interact with the discussions by reacting with emoji. If they have something they want to add, they can raise a virtual hand and a host can invite them to speak. Hosts will be able to see how much karma each user who raises a hand has.
Reddit says that it will work with the community to give the opt-in feature "the best moderation experience possible." Clubhouse critics say there have been instances of bullying, racism, harassment and anti-Semitism on that app.
Based on some early screenshots, Reddit Talk looks like a more colorful version of Clubhouse. While Clubhouse is about people using their real identities and photos, Reddit Talk users will be able to use pseudonyms and avatars.
It's an unsurprising move from Reddit, given that many other major platforms are working on their own versions of audio chat rooms. Along with Clubhouse (which just closed another funding round that reportedly values the company at $4 billion), Twitter, Spotify, Discord, Slack and LinkedIn have such features. Facebook is testing an app that adds video to the mix.