Twitter and Instagram are jumping on the live audio chat room bandwagon taking social media by storm, fronted by Clubhouse.
What is Clubhouse
Currently it’s an invite-only iOS exclusive app where people can create virtual rooms and invite people to join in.
It exploded in popularity after two tech stalwarts Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg made appearances which broke the app’s 5000 people limit per room.
In January Clubhouse became a billion-dollar company and a unicorn in the business world.
The app facilitates only audio/vocal communication and not other forms such as images, videos and text.
The Instagram Version
Alessandro Paluzzi leaked a couple of screenshots of the Instagram app earlier this week. In it one can see a microphone icon introduced in the direct messages section.
Also noted was a provision to mute and unmute oneself as evidenced by a mic icon and an X at the bottom of the user profile screen.
End to end encryption will also be a likely feature since “Start end-to-end encrypted chat” is what shows up when one tries to start a new chat.
Instagram owner Mark Zuckerberg had revealed his company’s plans of introducing “interoperability”- a feature which enables cross platform communication.
For example, if one was online on Whatsapp and wanted to chat with someone who was not on Whatsapp but on Facebook, interoperability could make that happen.
The Twitter Version
Twitter Spaces has recently been opened to Android users as well. It debuted in January.
Users can join and listen in on others’ conversations but the hosting feature is still limited to very few iOS users.
This development is preceded by the rollout of audio tweets last year which, as the name says, allows users to tweet out audio clips of maximum 140 secs, as opposed to text, video or image.
The Mark Cuban Version
Mark Cuban invested in and has launched Fireside, a podcasting app. The app aims to “make discussion, debate and discourse in a public forum a thing of celebration and beauty” according to its homepage.
Also in beta and on iOS only, currently access is limited to venture capitalists and podcasters, presumably the key target groups.
However this app is unique in that anyone can see the chats in desktop, lending transparency to its development.
Clearly inspired by Clubhouse, the app wants to make live, improvised public conversations more sophisticated and professional as opposed to the amateur nature of chats happening in the other apps.
One thing Fireside has going for it is that the audience can interact with the hosts, although not by vocal speech but via typed comments and questions, similar to Youtube live streams.