It’s going to take more than this to kill Reddit

There continues to be a lot of chatter about killing Reddit with new platforms that various entrepreneurs and product teams are likely working feverishly on right now, sensing an opportunity to steal a massive and engaged community that hits all the right demographics out from under Reddit.com. They smell blood in the water. They think Reddit of 2015 looks like Digg 4.0, and that they can be the place the community runs to.

But it’s not going to be that easy. It’s not impossible…

But the internet is a very different place today than in 2010.

In 2010 Digg 4.0 was launched, and the last great Digg exodus began. Reddit absorbed huge chunks of the Digg community, jump starting its ascension to the behemoth it has become today. Let’s add a bit of perspective though. At that point Digg had a peak of over 40 million MAUs. Currently Reddit achieves between 160–170 MAUs by comparison. Part of the reason Reddit has achieved that 4x increase is because there are more people on the internet engaging in online communities now than there were 5 years ago. But it’s also important to consider that these are different kinds of people. In 2005 it’s safe to assume that the Digg community was skewed much more heavily toward tech savvy and early adopter types, while the Reddit community has grown by adding huge numbers of casual internet users who are very engaged with content and community, but NOT very engaged with community politics, and NOT as likely to leave a platform they like and to which they are accustomed on principal for a lesser experience as a new site tries to grow.

This is the same reason that Path, Ello, and a host of other attempts to take on Facebook have failed. Sure, Instagram and Snapchat have had huge success, but they’re not killing Facebook by any stretch. Facebook has entrenched itself pretty heavily based on the strength of its features, reliability and most importantly, the social networks it has captured. In the same way, it was easier for Digg users to jump ship and entice other Digg users who were also fairly savvy to come with them and try this other similar platform. To essentially migrate the value of the community with them was not an impossible task. But the current Reddit community gains a lot of its value because there are so many non-savvy users who have joined in on the fun, and it will be much much harder to entice them to migrate. Even if a particular niche population or subreddit effectively migrated, without their connection and benefits from being embedded within such a large overall community, it’s a much harder sell. The mods and power users at Reddit depend on a much less motivated average consumer for their power and value.

It’s not impossible to kill a Facebook, and it’s not impossible that a mass migration occurs from Reddit, but it’s a huge mistake to think that this is analogous to the Digg 4.0 > Reddit migration in more than a cursory way.

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