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Reddit COO Jen Wong: ‘We recognize that what happens on Reddit influences the world. We see this all the time’

Written by KrASIA Writers Published on     3 mins read

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YouTube and Reddit are the first ports of call for many people when they’re trying to learn something new.

This article is part of KrASIA’s partnership with Collision.

  • Reddit COO Jen Wong, in conversation with YouTube VP Chris Jaffe, highlighted the power of community on platforms such as Reddit and YouTube.
  • The power of these platforms came to the forefront during the GameStop scandal in January 2021–a movement that began on a subreddit called r/WallStreetBets.
  • Reddit boasts 52 million daily active users, and YouTube now has 2 billion monthly users.
  • Wong and Jaffe appeared alongside David Beckham, Ryan Reynolds, Wikipedia CEO Katherine Maher, and Chelsea Clinton at the 40,000-attendee online conference, Collision 2021.

“The most reliable places on the internet for information”

Joshua Cohen, co-founder and COO of Tubefilter, moderated the talk and highlighted how YouTube and Reddit are the first ports of call for many people when they’re trying to learn something new.

“Learning has always been an important thing on YouTube, but we saw a lot of people learning about academic topics: ‘How do I help teach my kids ____?’, other ‘how to’ stuff. Learning became really important, so we rushed to launch learning hubs in specific countries,” said Chris Jaffe

“What’s amazing about communities is they’re really fast to respond because it’s a shared human experience. They’re immediately responding to questions that people have in the most helpful of ways,” said Jen Wong

These platforms were also a reflection of people’s psyche during the pandemic. Jaffe revealed that half a million channels livestreamed for the first time during the first six months of 2020. An action he relates to the human desire to connect and be together.

“Since it was such a challenging time for everybody, we saw a blend of music and live streaming to create virtual live events. Andrea Bocelli was huge in April 2020, and even other niche artists. A lot of it was tied to people sitting there really wanting more information and more entertainment during a very challenging time,” said Jaffe.

The power of these platforms came to the forefront during the GameStop scandal in January 2021–a movement that began on a subreddit called r/WallStreetBets.

“It’s pretty amazing to see what’s accelerated over the last year.

“One: people’s path to purchase. They’re going to communities more and more to help decipher ‘What do I buy?’, ‘What’s your experience with the product?’, and it’s become a part of how they transact, how people make decisions about their hobbies and how they’re spending their time. I think you saw that crest with Wall Street Bets in January, where people are turning to Reddit to educate themselves on the financial system so they can participate in it.

“Two: this long arc of democratization just continues to accelerate,” said Jen Wong

“We recognize that what happens on Reddit influences the world. We see this all the time. Recently, the Coinbase CEO, before their direct listing, came on Reddit and did an AMA [Ask Me Anything] and answered questions from users. We’ve seen our beauty subreddits send care packages to healthcare workers during the pandemic whose faces had scarring…We’re well aware that Reddit has that influence, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

YouTube VP Chris Jaffe also highlighted how his company is working to improve the quality of its video comment sections.

“This has been a big area of focus for us over the last few years. Comments are really the gem and the glue, that is, the biggest exemplar of what that community notion is on YouTube.

“One feature that we’ve launched over the last few months is a civility reminder. If you type a comment and it feels like something that can possibly be hurtful, we give you a chance to reframe that comment before it gets posted: are you sure you want to say this? It’s these little things that have allowed us to raise the quality of the discourse.”

About Collision:

When Collision, North America’s fastest-growing technology event, moved online, the pivot to host thousands of attendees online was coined by The Sunday Times as a “pretty big experiment.” For the second year in a row, Collision will host attendees online on its proprietary software. After hosting 32,000 attendees at its first online event in June 2020, the Collision platform was called “the stunning future of online events” by Digital Trends. This year, the platform will host 40,000.

About Web Summit:

Forbes says Web Summit is “the best tech conference on the planet”; Bloomberg calls it “Davos for geeks”; Politico, “the Olympics of tech”; the Guardian, “Glastonbury for geeks”; and, in the words of Inc. magazine, “Web Summit is the largest technology conference in the world.”

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