If you’re reading this, chances are very good that you’ve also been using social media for many years. You’ve also probably been hearing about audio spaces like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, the new kids on the block. The premise is incredibly simple, where once you typed, now you talk. And while some of these apps or add-ons might be open forums, others are available in more private rooms or spaces.
In March 2020, the Clubhouse app was introduced. Though it was initially introduced as a by-invitation-only service exclusively for iPhone users, in mid-May of 2021, the voice-only network opened up for Android users.
Since then, other social networks have followed suit to set up their own audio spaces. Twitter has an incredibly easy-to-use voice capability in their Twitter Spaces that allows for a layer of intimacy in conversation not previously available when tweeting 280 characters to virtual strangers and online friends. There’s also Spotify Greenroom, a relaunched version of the Locker Room app that allows people to connect with artists and athletes.
Clubhouse vs. Twitter Spaces: A quick comparison
Which is better to join: Clubhouse or Twitter? Since these are the two most popular audio spaces right now, I’ll give you a quick walk-through of both.
An intro to Clubhouse
Described as an app used for “drop-in audio chat,” Clubhouse connects millions of international users. Depending on your interests, you can create “rooms” run by moderators, speakers, and listeners. If you’ve been on the internet a while, this won’t be new to you. Audio technology has theoretically been available for mainstream users for decades.
If you’ve used your phone for a while, you’ll probably remember what it’s like to actually talk to people and hear their voices instead of staring at a grinning avatar while exchanging typed messages. Also worth noting, Discord, the VOIP and instant messaging platform has a comprehensive guide to getting started.
While Clubhouse offers solutions to those looking to collab or share ideas, it’s important to understand public apps do come with unwanted discrimination. But the app is looking to eliminate this type of behavior on the app.
Since Clubhouse is the new kid on the block, it can take a bit more time to figure out, so we’re offering a primer.
- Download the app: You can download the app via Google Play or the Apple store. While you don’t need an invitation to join anymore, you might want to ask a friend to invite you or show you the ropes.
- Create a compelling bio: You’ll notice that, unlike most other social media platforms, Clubhouse bios are usually on the longer side.
- Find people to follow: If you give the app access to your address book, it will let you know who among your contacts is a member. Or use the search function for familiar names to follow.
- Find clubs to follow: While there are some basic topics ranging from wellness to tech, to sports or the arts, you can fine-tune your search to find anything from matchmakers to female entrepreneurs. Once you follow a club, the moderators know of your interest and will eventually invite you to join.
An intro to Twitter Spaces
While Twitter sometimes has a reputation for being contentious, Twitter Spaces is proving to be one of the friendlier ways to start using audio as part of your social media outreach. It’s also incredibly easy to use.
Paul Armstrong, founder of HERE/FORTH, and host of Mouthwash, what he describes as the world’s first audio show created for Twitter Spaces, said that Twitter Spaces is the only one he’s seen that has been built with different functionality. He added that “Clubhouse enables everyone to have a mic, which can be deafening and intimidating.”
One of the reasons Armstrong prefers Twitter Spaces is because “it’s a bit more respectful of people’s feelings.” He also explained that it’s really easy to use, especially if you’re already familiar with the platform. “It’s knowing who’s on the call, recognizing the avatars, the familiarity with emojis you can use, and other little elements that give the audio call more life and create an atmosphere of intimacy.”
But both Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse have methods to theoretically mute antisocial or troublesome users. On Clubhouse, you have to be invited up on the “stage” to speak. On Twitter Spaces, you can mute those who are distracting or off-topic.
Twitter Spaces 101:
- Instead of simply composing a tweet, you’re now given the option of starting a space as well.
- It’s a nice way to drop in on industries or areas of interest you might otherwise miss out on.
- Another plus is the fact that you can promote your Space before the event to exactly the audience you’re already trying to attract.
Audio spaces: A new way to escape Zoom fatigue
While living through lockdown, many people felt isolated and in need of a different level of interaction. Still, others wanted to find a way to connect that didn’t involve the need to look perfect on Zoom.
“I think after a year of Zoom, everyone is just tired of being on display all the time,” said freelance lifestyle journalist Aly Walansky. “No one wants to be camera-ready every time they go into a room. This way, you don’t have to be.”
Walansky started using Clubhouse somewhat accidentally after receiving an invitation from her best friend and fellow freelancer Bryce Gruber. ”At first I kind of just loitered around — and then, within a week, PR and writer friends were pulling me into their rooms to discuss everything from beauty to travel.”
Eventually, Walansky and Gruber realized there might be room for a group specifically discussing media and issues related to the freelancing life. The two formed a group called Mastering Media that has a steady group of regulars meeting daily on Clubhouse. If you’re new to Clubhouse, this is a safe and welcoming group where you can rub virtual shoulders with both freelancers and publicists.
Using audio spaces to drive relationships
Armstrong is a big fan of audio apps and walked me through Twitter Spaces in a fun, lively one-on-one conversation. He said what attracted him most to the platform was “smart people asking smart questions or good discourse happening along with minds being changed.”
But the popularity contest ethos of Clubhouse became a turnoff for him. Armstrong said he disliked what he describes as “the bro club that sprung up on Clubhouse,” in part because their growth depended on somewhat exclusionary tactics.
While many credit Clubhouse as pioneering the trend of the audio space, I’ve been told we can expect new launches from nearly every media company. Also worth noting, unlike many other social media platforms, the new audio spaces aren’t as clearly segmented by age, career or demographic and there’s room for spillover.
3 things to know about audio spaces
While it isn’t overly complicated to use the new audio platforms, there are a few learning curves. Much in the way you wouldn’t walk over to a group of strangers at a cocktail party and simply break into the conversation, there’s also emerging etiquette and basic rules to keep in mind.
- Fake or phishing accounts on audio spaces can be harder to suss out. And because new mediums attract potential investors interested in similar apps or experiences, it’s wise to also be mindful of scammers.
- It’s easier to overshare. It can be tempting to overshare when on stage on Clubhouse. Try to spend time on the app before even deciding to jump into a conversation.
- It isn’t a popularity contest. Despite the fact that Clubhouse is literally set up as a popularity contest, a small but loyal following is infinitely more important than a virtual room full of bots.
How to get started on audio spaces
Remember when social media was brand new? At that point, most of us wondered if we should participate on any level. Audio formats are just another way of connecting with others or promoting your brand. They also allow you to present a different part of yourself that goes beyond the typical type and post mediums.
Gigi Robinson is a master of science student at USC who also spends much of her time as a Gen Z influencer for a variety of big-name brands. When trying to grow your brand in audio spaces, Robinson said, “Start. Regardless of the platform or the way in which you interact with your online presence.” She explained that “A majority of people focus on how to build their brand based on what they think that they want to succeed, instead of figuring out their values and building their brand about that. Just start, start talking about what you know, tell your friends, see who else is in the same field, listen to them talk, join their talks.”
According to Robinson, getting started and using these platforms is “imperative to building your brand.” But being genuine is crucial. “If you calculate your every move, some sense of authenticity is lost, and at the end of the day, people want you and not anything else.” And sometimes, being yourself in a public way will allow you to interact with and attract brand partnerships as well.
Robinson has had creative partnerships and been a brand ambassador for some A-List companies, including Tinder, Abercrombie, Canon, and TikTok. She accomplished this by doing everything from following recruitment advertisements to finding jobs on LinkedIn. In addition to interacting on these mediums, it’s important to create a profile that makes it clear that you’re open to partnerships or corporate relationships. To create a better profile, Robinson suggests including a clickable link with all of your info/portfolio items in it so that people have access to all of your work.
3 takeaways for using audio spaces
- Your profile should reflect that part of your public or professional personality you’re hoping to highlight.
- Test with friends before jumping into a larger conversation.
- Test the apps before planning your own room or event.