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article imageReddit to transform into a social network with new profile pages

By James Walker     Mar 21, 2017 in Technology
Reddit has announced it has begun trialling a radical new profile page design that's reminiscent of Facebook and Twitter. It will evolve the discussion board site towards being a social network by enabling users to post directly to their new profile page.
At present, posts on Reddit have to be directed into a specific sub-Reddit community. You can't simply write a post and have it appear across the network which can make it difficult to get your voice heard. Unless you've got some reputation in a relevant sub-Reddit, your posts may end up going unnoticed.
That could soon change. Last night, Reddit announced it's working on a drastic revision of its user profile page experience. The site has commenced testing of an early version of the design. According to a report from Reuters, just three "high-profile" users currently have access to the feature.
When the new pages are eventually opened up to all, they'll showcase the user's profile picture and description. Below the header, posts from the user will be publicly displayed. The user will be able to add new posts to their page, without submitting to a sub-Reddit. Users will be able to follow each other to stay informed of new posts, effectively creating a social network atmosphere above the discussion boards.
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Reddit hasn't officially released any screenshots of the new pages. However, images later given by an employee to news site Gizmodo show the design is similar to Twitter's profile pages. A large header image dominates the view. It is overlaid by a prominent avatar on the right side of the page, as well as a new "Follow" button beneath the user's details. Posts made by the user appear in the centre of the screen.
The announcement has been given a mixed reception by users. While some have welcomed the feature as a way to give everyone a voice, others have questioned whether it will erode the community spirit. People may end up neglecting sub-Reddits, instead focusing on improving their own content using techniques acquired from posting on other social networks.
Sub-Reddits could see decreased activity if content creators are more concerned with posting to their own pages. However, Reddit said that communities "will continue to be the priority" and will retain the most valuable content on Reddit. The site's moderators said the move is intended to attract new content creators and allow existing ones to grow, encouraging people to interact with communities.
"We’re making this change because content creators tell us they have a hard time finding the right place to post their content," said Reddit. "We also want to support them in being able to grow their own followers (similar to how communities can build subscribers)."
There's no word yet on when Reddit will roll the changes out publicly. The limited test audience and under-development nature of the new profile pages suggest the feature could still be several months away. Reddit said it will work with community moderators to make sure it doesn’t negatively impact existing site activities.
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