April 27, 2021

The Popularity of Clubhouse Is Causing The Major Social Networks To Retaliate

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Whenever a new hot social network shows up you can count on an automatic knee-jerk reaction from the major social networks to come up with something similar. Clubhouse is the latest platform to start gaining some traction, and as a result, Facebook and Twitter have already released their own versions of the same audio-only idea. It’s also been reported that LinkedIn and Reddit will be entering the fray soon as well.

Apparently that’s caused slowdown in Clubhouse app downloads and usage, although some of this might also be because it’s still iOS only, with no Android option available. The platform has about 2 million active monthly members now, which is a drop in the bucket compared to Facebook’s 2.2 billion users.

In the case of Facebook, it recently announced the audio-only Rooms on both the platform and Messenger. Users will be able to start an audio Room that their connections can join that is then highlighted at the top of News Feeds. They can then make their rooms public or price and even monetize them through Facebook’s Stars donation system. Going one up on Clubhouse, Rooms users will be able to turn their conversation into a podcast for later listening. There was no concrete launch date given, but it’s expected to be sometime during the summer.

Facebook actually is testing another Clubhouse-like product called Hotline that’s a little different in that it allows the host and co-hosts to allows broadcast video via their webcams. It’s said this will be expanded to viewers as well, so it will be a little like Zoom as well. Additionally, guests submit written questions which participants vote on before the host invites people to speak. Right now this is an invite-only product, but you can join the waitlist here.

Twitter’s audio-only feature is called “Spaces,” which is built on the infrastructure of the Periscope app that it purchased in 2015 and just shut down. Spaces seems incomplete though, as the company is still tweaking its UI and features, and pretty publicly at that.

While I’m of the opinion that audio-only apps are a trend that won’t have any longevity, Clubhouse has proved that it’s popular enough for the big boys to not only pay attention, but to answer with their own versions. That’s not good for the company in the long run, especially if one of these new versions (like Facebook Rooms) takes hold.

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