Initially, I was going to title this article “Reddit 2020 Predictions”. Unfortunately, that is going to cause many readers, especially Redditors, to think the article was about what Reddit users are going to talk about and obsess over in the next year. Instead, I am going to discuss what we can expect to see from Reddit as a company and website rather than how the user base will react to news topics and social media trends.
Having been on Reddit since 2008, I have seen the good times and I have seen the bad times. Remember when Ellen Pao was run out of town? How about when Reddit wasn’t constantly pushing to change the front page to be more “social media based”. Heck, some of us may remember how Reddit got started. Well, having been on the Front Page of the Internet for over a decade, I have some predictions to make for 2020.
Reddit Will Get Extremely Political
Anyone that surfs over to the News section or the Popular section of Reddit or the Reddit app has already noticed there are dozens of political posts that are getting tens of thousands of upvotes. Whether or not you agree with a specific topic, it is impossible to avoid the political environment that is spreading on Reddit. While the company attempted to quarantine The Donald, it is still the case that the communities on Reddit are creating theories or making bold predictions about the 2020 election in the United States, the potential impeachment of Donald J. Trump and Hong Kong.
With many Redditors getting older and more interested in politics, it should come as no surprise that the comments sections of any post remotely related to President Trump, Justin Trudeau or Boris Johnson will quickly become a dumpster fire. Can’t we all get along? If not, can Reddit just bury the post on topics that get way too controversial?
Fortunately, subreddits will allow people to avoid these types of discussions, but the News and Popular section will be full of pics, memes and gifs of any and all political topics.
Reddit Will Become More Facebooky
Some of us that have been on Reddit for years (Pepperidge Farm) remember a time when any type of grammatical error would get you downvoted into the depths of Reddit hell. There was zero chance you would get above zero on the Reddit scale. Today, dozens of posts with horrendous grammatical errors are not only getting traction, they are getting to the front page and even tens of thousands of upvotes. Come on Reddit, we can do better; not that there won’t be dozens of grammatical errors in this blog post. But, I don’t expect to get a single Reddit upvote.
Reddit has also worked diligently to completely remove the aspect of The Front Page of the Internet. Now, Reddit is The Front Page of YOUR Internet. In fact, if you sign up for an account today, you will have completely different subreddits than with the original Reddit, which was home to The Front Page of the Internet. Just like Facebook, Twitter, Google News and all other Internet content sources, you are now going to see what the algorithm wants you to see rather than what the entire community wants to see. Welcome to the Facebookification of the Internet.
Reddit Will See a Decline in Usage in 2020
Because of the two reasons above, I think Reddit will see a decline in usage in 2020. They will never report that fewer accounts are being created as Russia, China and potentially even Ukraine (right Trump?) will try to get attention on “their candidate” for the 2020 US Election. They will do this by creating hundreds of thousands of Reddit accounts and submitting content that creates the narrative they desire. They will also use these accounts to upvote or downvote content that makes sense for their candidate.
With that being the case, older Redditors are going to get very frustrated. They are going to try to hide in smaller subreddits but even these places will see a decline in quality content and conversations.
In 2020, Internet users are going to look long and hard for unbiased news that is actually factual and does not fit the narrative of their search and social media history. If Reddit can figure out how to get back to the old Front Page of the Internet, it will grow tremendously. If it can’t, it will continue to attract those that want to spew their political bias and hate. The ball is in your court u/Spez.
Also, can we please just default to old.reddit.com?