On Sunday, Reddit made a pretty big announcement: It’s going to be launching profile pages.
In what is perhaps the biggest change in recent years — dwarfing the rollout of r/popular — individual users will be able to develop and curate a profile page, not unlike those found on other sites like Facebook or Twitter. Users can follow each other’s pages and post content directly to their own page, instead of on one of Reddit’s multitude of themed subreddits.
“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 in its announcement. “We also want to support them in being able to grow their own followers (similar to how communities can build subscribers).” The new profile pages will enable users “to make posts directly to their profile (not just to communities), and logged-in redditors will be able to follow them.”
There are of course some key difference between Reddit’s profile pages and those of other websites. Profile pages will have a place for users to put an avatar, but, consistent with Reddit’s focus on anonymity, that avatar need not be an actual picture of the user. Redditors’ names will, as has always been the case, still never be attached to these profiles either.
As of right now, Reddit has limited use of this new feature to a group of hand-selected Redditors, although it will eventually become available for everyone to use. For those interested in seeing how the feature plays out, the test case profiles are live and waited to be checked out.
User u/Shitty_Watercolour is one of the more well-known users to receive the update. He makes, as you might guess from his username, intentionally shitty watercolor paintings of various characters and subjects.
u/Shitty_Watercolour has been identified by Reddit as the archetypical user who would benefit from the profile page feature. He has a large presence on Reddit, and other users already actively seek out his content. Now it’ll all be in one easy-to-find place and that much easier for him to promote his work.
Still, not everyone is excited about the change. In comments section of the announcements, users’ reactions ran the gamut. Some were open to the idea. Others were more confused or even hostile.
“Wouldn’t making their own subreddit accomplish the exact same thing? Seems benign either way but there is a lot of overlap,” said one user.
“I fully support this change. Hopefully this shitty site is dead by Christmas,” said another.
On Reddit, a community notorious adverse to changes, only time will tell how welcome and successful these changes really are. Regardless, they serve as a signal that the top dogs of Reddit are hardly running out of ideas.