Reddit doesn’t have enough resources to keep Talk-ing.
Talk, the audio conversation feature inspired by the pandemic darling Clubhouse, is being folded before it even reaches its two-year anniversary. “Today we’re sharing that we have made the difficult decision to sunset the Reddit Talk product in the coming weeks,” the company announced.
This time last year, Reddit was still committed to the feature, launching a web version of Talk and adding a playback bar to pause and play conversations from any timestamp the user chooses. Now, the third party vendor Reddit uses to run the audio service is shutting down. In these circumstances, it would take the community-driven social network a lot more firepower to keep Talk up and running.
Reddit Talk will be available until March 21. Reddit says it will bring audio back, but there’s presently no plan as to how, when, and where. Meanwhile, users will have time between Mar. 21 and June 1 to download talks hosted after Sept. 1, 2022.
Quotable: Why is Reddit sunsetting Talk?
“Supporting Talk in the short-term requires significant resourcing—more than we anticipated. Reddit’s goal is to become the de facto home for communities. Audio, like Talk, has a place in that. However, there’s significant work we need to do—like making Reddit simpler and building better subreddit infrastructure—before incorporating audio.” —Reddit’s announcement
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Explained: “Making Reddit simpler”
Pali Bhat, Reddit’s first-ever chief product officer, outlined earlier this week some ways in which the company’s plans to simplify the user experience:
👀 Offering the ability to search within post comments without having to expand comments or embark on a long scrolling session
👐 Building a feed dedicated to reading and browsing text and another with just video and gif posts.
🧹 Decluttering the interface
Company of interest: Clubhouse
Drop-in audio chat rooms gained traction when everyone jumped on the Clubhouse bandwagon during the pandemic in 2020. The audio-only format was a hit because it served as a platform for all kinds of events, from hosting business conferences to comic open mic nights—all from the lockdown rules-compliant comfort of a home. Within months of Clubhouse’s launch, copycats emerged: Twitter launched Spaces, Facebook announced Live Audio Rooms, and Spotify created Greenroom. And Reddit, of course, launched Talk in April 2021.
The post-pandemic world, though, hasn’t offered fertile grounds for these features. Even Clubhouse has lost its sheen. Once an invite-only app, anyone can join Clubhouse now. The app also raised privacy concerns that have likely affected its uptake. The San Francisco-based company that, at its peak in 2021, was given a $4 billion valuation, has witnessed an executive exodus, with more than 20 leaders leaving in the past year.
What the company has going for itself is bucket loads of cash. In mid 2022, Clubhouse CEO Paul Davidson said the company is pivoting to smaller, more intimate, and perhaps more purposeful audio chat rooms.
🤲 Reddit is the best social media site because it gets community right
🎙️ Black creators, not Elon Musk, deserve credit for popularizing Clubhouse