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Twitter jumps on the audio chat bandwagon with ‘Spaces’

Ephemeral audio chat platforms are seriously striking a chord with Gen Z in early 2021. Twitter is now looking to get in on the act with ‘Spaces.’

There may be some truth in the notion that lockdown has made us all a tad lazier, because big social networking platforms are all about audio recently – who has the time to type anymore?

The latest to hop on-board the burgeoning trend is Twitter, which is finally upping the testing phase for its own private chatroom function ‘Spaces,’ set to roll out to Android users over the weekend.

As part of a new initiative to speed up its pace of development in 2021, Twitter is looking to capitalise on new openings fast, and opportunity has definitely come knocking this month.

Keen to exercise this new company ethos, product chief Keycon Bekypour has identified the mass hype created by Clubhouse – the invite only chatroom app grabbing the attention of teens across the globe – and is zeroing in to take advantage of the emerging market.

Appearing alongside Twitter Fleets (the platform’s own story feature) at the top of the homepage, Android users will start to notice a purple icon containing multiple users’ display pictures. This means that a public chatroom within Spaces is underway and open to join.

Once in a chatroom, you can request to speak through a mic icon in the bottom corner. Those leading the chat will then decide whether or not to give you the floor, as servers can be filled by hundreds of users at once. I guess we’ll see how friendly some of these blue tick influencers actually are.

Voyeurs looking to just listen in can opt to join muted and make use of reaction emojis to interact. Of course upon creating your own public or private server, you can invite friends through a unique link much like Zoom or even schedule in chats ahead of time.

Barring the emoji function, you’re probably thinking that this sounds almost identical to Clubhouse… and you’d be right. However, Spaces has actually managed to roll out on Android before Clubhouse.

That’s right, the clone app has nipped in to fill the market before the OG – the sheer cheek of it!

In all seriousness, the introduction of Spaces cements a refreshing change of emphasis for Twitter going forward.

Having lost more than 100 million monthly active users since its peak engagement in 2019, Twitter is now doing all it can to make the platform a less ‘high pressure’ environment for its userbase.

Admist an age of cancel culture, it can be daunting to have your spontaneous musings knocking around on the internet forever, and that’s why young people are turning to ephemeral platforms in droves recently.

Though Snapchat’s engagement fell off after its heyday between 2015 and 2017, the platform has remained a popular option for Gen Z users wanting to communicate with friends casually without the possibility of scrutiny. Looking back now, it seems it was way ahead of the curve.

The additions of both Fleets and now Spaces suggests that Twitter is shaking off its cobwebs and is more open to change these days.

While it clearly wants to remain the hub for off-the-cuff topical discussion, it now understands the value in providing users with a safe space.

Could this be the key decision to catapult Twitter back up the social media rankings?