Everything you need to know about Twitter Spaces, the clubhouse rival
Streaming audio has received a lot of attention lately. You've probably heard of Clubhouse, the audio streaming app Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg use to have live conversations (similar to live podcasts).
If you're still waiting for an invitation, don't fret. Twitter has developed its own audio product, Twitter Spaces, and plans to release it on both iOS and Android in late April 2021.
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What is Twitter Spaces?
Twitter Spaces enables users to host and participate in live audio conversations hosted in "Spaces" (also known as audio chat rooms).
The product is currently being tested and only shortlisted users can currently create their own Spaces. However, anyone on iOS and Android can join a Space and listen to it. This is where you can stay up to date on Spaces and other Twitter updates.
How to use Twitter Spaces
How to start a space on Twitter
Note that at the time of writing, only approved beta testers can start Spaces. Once Spaces is launched publicly, anyone can host a Space (although your account must be public).
You start a space just like you write a tweet:
- Long press on iOS Compose button
- Select the space symbol (several diamond-shaped circles).
Or you can:
- Tap your profile photo (like creating a fleet).
- Scroll right to find them Spaces Possibility.
- When you're ready to begin, tap Start your room. Your microphone is turned off by default. So you have to turn it on by tapping the microphone icon.
Photo credit: James Futhey
The first time you're hosting or speaking in a space, Twitter will ask for your consent to have your speech subtitled. This allows users to view live subtitles while listening to a Space (they need to select "Show Subtitles" in their Space settings).
As the host, you need to enable subtitles for your space. We strongly recommend turning them on to make your channel accessible and inclusive to all listeners.
Add a description
When creating your space, you have the option of adding a description (maximum 70 characters). We recommend adding a short but specific line mentioning the topic you are talking about and / or the guest speakers you are introducing. By default, the title of your Space is "(your Twitter name)" Space and cannot be changed at this time.
How to add speakers to Twitter Spaces
You can add up to 10 people (besides the host) as speakers to a Space.
Choose from three speaker options:
- People you follow
- Only people you invite
You can always change this later while you are hosting a space. If you select Only People You Invite, you can send invitations to speakers through DM.
Photo credit: @wongmjane
While a Space is active, you can approve requests from listeners. Any speakers you approve count towards the 10 speaker limit.
If you have problems with speakers, you (as the host) can remove, report, or block them.
Note that if you block a user in a Twitter section, you are also completely blocking a user on Twitter.
There is no limit to how many listeners can join a space.
How to End a Twitter Space
Hosts can tap a space to end it leaving top right (this ends the room for everyone). Or a space is terminated if it violates Twitter rules.
After a space has ended, it is no longer available to users. Twitter will keep a copy of the audio and subtitles for 30 days in case the conversation needs to be checked for rule violations.
During those 30 days (extending to 90 if a complaint is filed), hosts can download a copy of the Space data, including a transcript if closed captions are enabled.
How to join a space on Twitter
Anyone (both iOS and Android users) can join a Twitter Space as a listener.
There are currently two ways to join a Twitter Space:
- by tapping a purple circle around a host's photo at the top of your timeline (like viewing fleets); or
- In a tweet, tap a purple Spaces box. Note that the room must be live. You cannot join a space after it has ended.
Photo credit: @wongmjane
When you join a space, your microphone is muted by default.
Once in a room there are a few things you can do:
- Change your settings (e.g. activate subtitles and sound effects).
- Please be a speaker
- see the list of speakers and listeners,
- Send emoji reactions,
- Share tweets,
- and divide the room.
Pro tip: If you want to keep using Twitter while listening to a Space, you can minimize it and it will dock at the bottom of your app. If you exit the Twitter app, the audio will continue to play.
How to find rooms on Twitter
Findability is still in progress for Spaces. According to the screenshots found by @wongmjane, Twitter plans to create its own tab on the Spaces app that you can likely find and discover Spaces on. Right now, you can type "twitter.com/i/ispaces" in the mobile app search bar to find Spaces.
Twitter is working on a special page / tab for @TwitterSpaces pic.twitter.com/ggXgYU6RAf
– Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 17, 2021
Rooms are public and can be joined by anyone (including people who don't follow you).
Hosts and listeners can share spaces in three ways:
- send an invitation by DM,
- Share it on your timeline via a tweet.
- or copy the link to the space to share as you wish.
According to the Twitter Spaces team, they are working on a space scheduling feature that will make it a lot easier to promote and notify your followers in advance. Once you've scheduled a space, you can tweet a link to it and your followers can set a reminder to join your space once it's live.
Photo credit: @c_at_work
Twitter Spaces vs Clubhouse: How Do They Compare?
On the surface, Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse look pretty similar in design and function. While the clubhouse may have been its first time, Spaces has already outperformed the clubhouse in some ways (more on the features listed below). Early users seem to agree:
The clubhouse feels like going to someone else's house for a social gathering. You may need to interact with people you don't know. Twitter Spaces feels like a small gathering you have at home with friends.
– anna melissa @ (@annamelissa) March 5, 2021
I know @TwitterSpaces is only in beta, but I'm so impressed with the audio quality and the emoji functionality that allows listeners to participate more actively.
I can not wait any longer! https://t.co/NPoQo4G6B1
– ro kalonaros (@yoitsro) February 11, 2021
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the functions of Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse (as of April 7, 2021):
It remains to be seen how the full launch of Twitter Spaces will affect Clubhouse's popularity.
One big difference between the two platforms is theirs User base. Clubhouse is a new app that is building its base from the ground up, while Twitter already has millions of daily active users, which gives Spaces a head start.
1. The network is already here.
There's no need to rush to grab a new social channel and build your following from scratch on a new audio network.
It's already here @Twitter and you get built-in network effects.
– Lucas Bean (@ Luke360) March 31, 2021
5 ways to use Twitter Spaces for business
The question every marketer is asking himself right now: should I plan to incorporate Spaces into my Twitter marketing strategy? Before answering this question, make sure you have a solid Twitter marketing strategy in place.
Using the latest bells and whistles won't help if you don't have a solid foundation; B. Have real conversations with your followers and know your brand voice.
Once you've done that, here are some thoughts on how your business can use Twitter Spaces.
For many companies (especially B2B companies), establishing your brand as a thought leader is one of the many advantages of using social media. Given the design of multi-speaker spaces, it seems like a natural fit to use for hosting industry panels.
Build your company's thought leaders and add value to your customers by organizing a Twitter Space with experts in your industry. Or host a live webinar with one of your employees to share their industry knowledge.
2) Questions and Answers / AMAs
Hosting a Q&A or question-about-anything session would be a great use of the live nature of Spaces and speaking capabilities. Lots of companies do this with Instagram Stories stickers, but using Twitter Spaces would create a much better experience for users who ask questions of a real person and are instantly satisfied when they hear instant answers.
Consider a Q&A session on Twitter Spaces to answer customer questions about a new product or feature. Or invite a celebrity or popular figure in your industry to an AMA session (with your company as the exclusive moderator).
3) Commentary on live events
Twitter is already very popular for having conversations about live events like sports and TV shows / broadcasts. If you're a media company or publisher, your company can use Twitter Spaces to share comments on relevant live events and invite your community to speak (like radio talk shows). We are already seeing this in communities like NBA Top Shot, where publishers host Spaces to discuss the latest drops.
4) Game shows / giveaways
Another potential use case for radio-inspired Twitter Spaces: host a live game show with your followers. It could be a new research report, a platform launch, or a market expansion. Or when you launch a new product, have the listeners partake in some fun trivia challenges and pass your product on to the winner to reward them with the first experience of your new product.
5) Album / film / product releases
What goes better with an audio platform than music? For musicians, Twitter Spaces is a great opportunity to promote future album releases: hold a live album listening party with your biggest fans.
This idea could also be adapted for releases for movies, TV shows, and apps – anything a company builds anticipation for beforehand. Then, on release day, invite your top fans or customers to a room to celebrate and discuss the release. Make sure to share some exclusive audio during the Space to reward the listeners and get people excited to join your future Spaces.
Given Clubhouse's early popularity and the impending launch of Twitter Spaces, social audio seems to be here to stay. With Twitter, Spaces feels like an improvement on its existing product: adding a voice dimension to plain text conversations makes the platform feel more intimate and human.
Twitter Spaces is expected to be published publicly in April 2021. Stay tuned!
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