Speaking on the center stage at Web Summit in Lisbon today, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian made the case that Reddit, not Twitter, was the better second screen alternative.
Millions of users turn to Twitter to have live, real-time conversations about events ranging from sports to politics (and everything in-between). In doing so, it’s the hashtag that keeps the conversation moving and sorts messages neatly into a fast-moving stream anyone can follow. It’s this approach, he argues, that makes Reddit the better alternative for real-time conversation. Ohanian says:
Hashtags are one of the greatest farces ever foisted upon us. No one follows them during a live event unless you want to see thousands of people shouting ‘goal!’ at the same time,. The second screen really is happening on Reddit.
Except, he’s wrong. Reddit is great for conversation after the fact. There’s nothing better than Twitter for real-time conversation with millions as it’s happening.
Reddit proper certainly isn’t the solution, but what about Reddit Live? Live, in case you haven’t used it, is a Twitter-esque reverse-chronological feed of information that tries to group conversations on a singular topic — like the election. Arguably, however, it’s just as cumbersome as Twitter, although slower-moving in most cases.
In fact, most of what you’ll find in a typical Reddit Live stream are links — to Twitter, news stories, and the occasional topic-specific comment (or troll bait).
If you’re using Reddit to redirect users to Twitter, what’s the point?
The slower-moving timeline and the depth of comments found on Reddit offer a sound argument. Ultimately though, it’s really about what the two sites were built to do, and Reddit — in its current form — isn’t half the instant news source Twitter is. Twitter, on the other hand, will never offer the depth of Reddit.
A tool for each job, right?