Facebook’s Version of Clubhouse?

Big news in the world of social audio chats yesterday – Mark Zuckerberg went live for the first time in the US with a Facebook Live Audio Room – Beta test. Proving, that at least for now, social audio chats and chat streaming are here to stay.

Social audio chats?social media news

In late 2020, I downloaded the Clubhouse app, you could only access the app via iOS and you needed an invite. Lucky for me, I’m an apple girl with a robust Twitter audience. I took to Twitter to ask for an invite, and received one almost right away. I joined a few rooms, followed some of my favorite people and shared my own invites with strangers on Twitter.

Clubhouse launched in March 2020. Given what people were up to in March 2020, it was the perfect time for an audio only, chat streaming app as conversations outside the home at that time were hard to come by. Any given day, any given time, business greats like Gary Vaynerchuck or Grant Cardone would start a room, drop knowledge bombs and answer questions with their closest Clubhouse friends. Athletes and celebrities would host rooms and people would flock to hear from some of their favorite people in what felt like a pretty intimate, conversational setting.

I used Clubhouse a few times a week at first, and now I check in when I receive a notification someone great has a room going. Although, Clubhouse wasn’t perfect for me and didn’t fit well into my already busy social media routine, I could immediately see the format working well. Somehow. Some way.

But, even it’s most avid users had to admit, Clubhouse wasn’t perfect. The idea was there, but could it be better?

It came as no surprise to hear that social media giants like Facebook and Twitter were working on their own version of the ‘audio chat room’.

Twitter debuted Twitter Spaces in May of 2021. Joining a Space is easy, click on the purple bubble that appears at the top of the Twitter feed. From there, listen to the Space, read pinned Tweets, or DM the host to request permission to speak. If you have at least 600 followers, you can host a space of your own. Twitter has added an easier management panel for hosts to control the pace of their rooms. They can assign new speakers, mute individual ones, or mute everyone at the same time. The host (and any speakers in the room) can also pin Tweets and turn on captions to help listeners follow along to the conversation. Twitter is currently in development to allow for ‘Ticketed Spaces’, requiring viewers/listeners to pay a fee to join the space.

Facebook first announced it’s foray into audio chats with Live Audio Rooms. As we mentioned above Mark Zuckerberg went live for the first time yesterday with a Beta Test of Live Audio Rooms. Zuck was joined by fellow Facebook execs and creators, giving us our first peek. It’s almost identical to Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. No word when it will officially launch.

How will this impact businesses and brands trying to build audience? Like any social media tool/platform, we expect this to be an evolution. But, it certainly opens up opportunities for small businesses and personal brands to reach their audience more directly and to build relationships that would otherwise take more time to develop. This will be a particularly useful tool for brands with solutions to problems. If you can solve a pain point and describe it easily via audio, you’ll want to keep an eye on this.

-Kelly David

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