The new hotness in social media these days is losing hours to endlessly scrolling feeds of short videos, thanks to TikTok. Even Reddit is getting in on that trend.
Reddit, best known as an online bulletin board that’s as close to old-timey internet forums as you’ll find these days, added a new video feed button directly to the right of its search bar in the iOS mobile app. This is still in the process of gradually rolling out to all iOS users, per TechCrunch, but should be available to most of them by now. I downloaded the Reddit app for the first time to verify this and, lo and behold, it was right there:
Credit: screenshot: reddit
Tapping that button will take you to a very TikTok-esque rolling feed of videos uploaded directly to the site. In other words, if someone posts a link to a YouTube video in a subreddit you follow, it probably won’t show up here, but if someone directly uploads a video, either their own or ripped from elsewhere, it might. I saw straight up TikToks with that app’s signature watermark and everything while browsing Reddit’s video feed. You can do all the typical Reddit interactions (upvote, downvote, comment, etc.) while watching these videos, as well as keep scrolling to see more from your favorite subreddits or ones that Reddit deems to be similar to them.
The video delivery algorithm is obviously based on which subreddits you’re a member of, as mine gave me videos that were at least in the orbit of the various video game, sports, and cat-related ones I subscribe to. By “in the orbit,” I mean I follow r/Cats and it showed me a video from r/Dogs. Close, but no cigar. Similarly, I was served a Minecraft video despite only following r/Rainbow6, a video game that is decidedly not Minecraft. It may take time before Reddit’s algorithm can match TikTok’s.
The feature doesn’t seem to be available in Reddit’s Android app yet, or at least it wasn’t on the particular Android phone I have. A Reddit spokesperson told Mashable that Reddit is “still in the experimental phase for this feature” without offering any other specifics.
This is obviously a small development in the grand scheme of things, as it’s entirely possible to keep browsing Reddit’s iOS app in the same way as before without ever engaging with the video feed button. Reddit isn’t usually associated with trend-chasing as much as other popular social networks, but other recent experiments like voice chatting point to that possibly changing. At least there’s such a wide variety of content on Reddit that you might find things you wouldn’t find on TikTok.
Those who enjoy Reddit’s relative old-school purity compared to sites like Facebook and Twitter might understandably be bummed about this news, but if the goal is to keep people staring at the app as much as possible, it could work. Just remember to eat and use the bathroom every now and then.