Over the last 12 twelve months, Clubhouse struck a nerve with millions of users—emerging from the Silicon Valley cool kids crew and requiring an invitation to join—attention came quickly and in abundance. From a functional perspective, it addressed the need for personal interaction and shared experiences as few other platforms have managed to.
On the iOS Clubhouse app, vivid discussion groups quickly emerged. Tapping into a decisively present craving—these online, voice-only chat rounds are similar to unscripted podcasts in front of a live “home office” audience.
After the initial feeding frenzy, though, the Clubhouse hype has slowed down significantly. Whereas over 8 million people have downloaded the app, this group is primarily early adopters. The service has failed to reach the masses, and buzz has largely tapered off over the past few months.
Twitter Spaces as a Clubhouse Alternative
In the meantime, nearly every other social media network has started to develop its own variation of Clubhouse. Most notably, Twitter has made advances in the live streaming and podcasting area with their version, called Twitter Spaces.
Twitter Spaces is essential the same as Clubhouse, but with a few notable differences. Twitter Spaces doesn’t require an invite, nor is there a limit on the number of people who can join a room. Perhaps the most critical differentiator, though, is the sheer size of the Twitter community. With over 300 million active users worldwide, Twitter is a force to reckoned with, and Spaces are built right into their core product.
Twitter’s audio strategy and product roadmap
Currently, Fleets (Twitter’s version of the Stories Feature) and Spaces are the first things you will see when you open the Twitter app. That is what we refer to as prime screen real estate, and it shows how important these features are to the company.
In the broader app ecosystem, Twitter is less visually engaging than image-driven platforms like Instagram or Facebook. Its users also tend to prefer more anonymous forms of communication, and for this reason, some have accused Twitter of lacking personality and warmth.
This is clearly a reputation they are eager to shake. In an attempt to bring more personality to the platform, Twitter launched a feature on the app that allows users to leave short form voice messages —essentially voice Tweets. Although this feature hasn’t generated a ton of momentum just yet, it is clear that voice messages and conversations make up a significant portion of Twitter‘s product roadmap.
Due to the sheer volume of users and the fact that this is obviously an area of focus for the company, I think Twitter Spaces has the potential to become the number one place for live podcasts and discussion rounds — like the ones Clubhouse offers.
Features that could extend Spaces impact
I’ve been saying for a while that Twitter needs a feature that gets its user base to create content, and maybe Spaces will be this game-changer. Going forward, I feel there are several ways Twitter could broaden the appeal of spaces and engage more users, including:
- Recordings of Spaces for those who missed them
- Special placements to promote upcoming Spaces on the app
- A calendar on the Twitter app which shows possible Spaces to follow or partake in
- The option to tip (apparently being tested)
- Entrance fees for paid events, similar to what Facebook offers on their platform; this could open the door to professional digital conferences in the long run
For now, it will be interesting to see how the battle for audio supremacy plays out, and you can be sure we’ll be keeping a close eye on any developments.