Reddit has always billed itself as “the front page of the Internet,” and it acts as a significant middleman between web content and social networks. The site has a vibrant community, with interests as diverse as world news, personal finance and things that are mildly interesting. Reddit often surfaces news, for better or worse, and with Reddit Live, the community can discuss topics in real-time.
“We saw huge demand from both readers and posters for all kinds of constantly updated text posts, whether breaking news or coverage of sporting events,” Reddit general manager Erik Martin told VentureBeat. “We are just providing a more robust way for users as well as professional journalists to manage this type of dynamic content.”
The initial use case was provided in an official blog post: Live can be used to cluster updates around events. These live threads will come to a static URL, which can be posted to multiple subreddits so the threads can reach a wider audience. The Live threads can be updated by multiple users, and contain rich media content like pictures and videos.
As usual with new features, people are either testing the limits of the new system, or just having a bit of fun. The subreddit for r/live only has 6,300 subscribers at the time of this writing, but as more Live threads are created for Ukraine, the Israel-Palestine conflict or the Ebola outbreaks, more users are bound to come.
Live is like many changes to Reddit, there isn’t a top-down plan in place from the management for the direction of the site. The community has expressed a need, and the staff have responded. From the official blog post: “We’re really looking forward to seeing what ingenious ways you all come up with to use this. Please check it out and let us know what you think!”