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.
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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?