Redditors rejoice! The social news aggregator is coming out with a new chat room tool. It’s a direct throwback to the old days of the internet when chatrooms were a thing.
The feature, named Start Chatting, is rolling out to around 16,000 SFW subreddits. It essentially forms small groups (of up to seven people) where people of that subreddit will be able to chat. Chatting will take place by creating group threads where the users can exchange messages, share posts, swap GIFs and anything else, for that matter. However, this can only take place in the popular subreddits which already have the feature enabled.
The Start Chatting button can be easily detected under the subreddit’s name, right below the community description. Once you click that, well, you get to have chat bubble of your own with 6 other people.
Reddit has been testing this feature with a handful of subreddits. However, the push to roll it out site-wide started after the existing chat feature started being used more often since the beginning of the year. The site is expected to expand the feature beyond the 16,000 SFW subreddits in the coming weeks.
Chatrooms have been something Reddit has experimented with for some time. The company had, in 2018, allowed some subreddit moderators to create chatrooms. However, this new feature is completely different from that test. Firstly, the previous chatrooms were one big room where anyone could just join. That is not the case anymore. Secondly, moderators have no power over this, since the users are randomly selected.
The arrangement is not new for websites though. Facebook is also increasingly focusing on prioritising its messaging services – WhatsApp and Messenger. Apparently, users are losing interest in the traditional Facebook website and app. Thus, the company released Messenger Rooms last week, which is a video-chat service which can accommodate a maximum of 50 people. In addition to this, WhatsApp’s video call capacity also doubled. On top of these, the social media giant added several features of Facebook Dating as well. The company also recently came out with a mobile gaming app called Facebook Gaming.
However, even though all these new features are pretty cool, Reddit’s chatrooms are unique since they help users create new connections. It’s perfect, actually. Considering how, since it is in a particular subreddit, users will already have a shared interest. Thus, it is unlikely that one might have creepy experiences in the chatrooms (remember Omegle?). Also, considering the current social distancing norms, this might just be what people on the internet need to feel less lonely.
For the uninformed, Reddit is an American company that is mainly a social news aggregator and is also a web content rating and discussion website. Users can submit text posts, links, images and other media in particular subreddits where other members can vote them up or down. Subreddits are basically user-created boards which are associated with particular topics. Subreddits can be of anything, such as news, science, movies, video games, music, books, fitness, food, and image-sharing. Moreover, posts with a considerable number of upvotes appear on the top of the subreddit. With enough upvotes, they appear on the website’s front page.