Reddit Tests Split-View Text and Video Feeds, Other Updates

Reddit is introducing changes designed to make it easier for users to browse and navigate its communities. Currently testing is a concept that separates text and video into separate streams, dubbed “Read” and “Watch.” Users can toggle between the split-view feeds. In the current format, both “Read” and “Watch” will include recommendations as well as posts that users subscribe to. “In 2023, the product and design improvements you’ll see from us will simplify and streamline how people discover, join, and contribute (post, vote, comment) to communities and bring new ways to engage in conversations and content,” Reddit explains.

Reddit expects to roll out Read and Watch generally in the coming weeks. The social platform is also experimenting with a video player update that will allow people to “easily engage in conversations while watching” by commenting on what they see.

Other improvements coming soon include a re-organized interface that aims to decrease clutter, chat upgrades, enhanced storefronts and more. Reddit recently added a way to search comments.

The bifurcated feed “will bring a new tab in the upper left hand corner of the app near the menu ‘hamburger’ icon,” explains PetaPixel. When Read is selected, content will be optimized for text browsing, compressing the feed “into a more readable format.”

Watch is optimized for video and “looks just like Instagram Reels or TikTok,” PetaPixel suggests. Reddit describes it as “an option for video lovers to optimize their feed for video content.”

Reddit has in recent years increased video visibility on its platform to better compete with TikTok and YouTube. “In 2020, the company acquired a short-form TikTok-like video platform, Dubsmash, to integrate its video creation tools into Reddit,” writes TechCrunch, adding that “in August 2021, Reddit rolled out a TikTok-style video feed on its iOS app.”

Last year, Reddit confirmed it was developing ways to bring more user-generated video to its online discussion forums along with a feature to facilitate posting reactions to other videos.

Reddit chief product officer Pali Bhat says the changes will allow Reddit’s 500 million monthly users to more easily find and engage with the topics that interest them in the format they find most convenient, “and to move between formats more seamlessly,” The Verge reports.

Reddit was launched in 2005 and purchased by Conde Nast in 2006, becoming an independent subsidiary of parent Advance Communications in 2011. Bhat, who is Reddit’s first CPO, joined from Google last year.

About 500 million people visit Reddit monthly, But Bhat said on The Verge’s Decoder podcast that the appeal should be broader.

While some people add “Reddit” to the front of their search engine queries to zero in on what the community is saying, for the uninitiated “it’s a bit inscrutable, it’s a bit chaotic, and it’s hard to get,” Bhat told Decoder, explaining the changes aim to “make Reddit for everyone, to keep it great for all the folks that are already there but then keep it welcoming for everyone else.”

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