Discovery is key to maximizing audio social take-up, and both Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces have faced various challenges in highlighting the most relevant broadcasts to users in real-time, which has limited the capacity of each platform to generate optimal interest.
Today, Clubhouse is taking a significant step towards addressing its discovery challenges, with an expansion of topics in the app to include many more granular and niche interests, while it’s also giving users more options to follow specific topics, and to connect with others around the same.
As you can see here, Clubhouse is launching new topic pages, which will highlight the top search results, rooms and users related to each topic, making it easy to stay updated on popular broadcasts and presenters.
As noted, Clubhouse is also making its topics more niche:
“We’re adding thousands more detailed and granular topics, so you can search for a topic like “The Dodgers” instead of searching for “baseball” - or your city, university, academic interests or favorite sub-genres of music.”
And finally, it’s also adding topic listings to rooms, with creators able to add topic tags within the creation process.
Again, both Clubhouse and Twitter are finding it challenging to highlight the best rooms to each user in real-time, with Twitter’s Spaces tab a mess of untargeted junk, and many Clubhouse users complaining of spammy broadcasts that dominate the app.
Twitter has also added topic tags to address this, and that does go some way to improving discovery. But still, in order to keep users coming back, both platforms will need to work harder on building algorithmic systems that highlight the most relevant broadcasts to each user when they go to listen in to a new broadcast.
In addition to topics, Clubhouse is also adding support for more languages, with 13 new options available on Android today, and coming to iOS shortly.
The new language additions include Arabic, Bengali, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Farsi/Persian, Hausa, Igbo, Marathi, Nepali, Somali, Thai, Turkish, and Yoruba.
The benefit of Clubhouse in India is that while many languages are spoken, and many citizens can speak and understand different language variations, not all Indian people can read and write in as many forms, which means that audio connection tools can provide more opportunity for more people to engage than text-based platforms.
And again, with India now becoming its prime focus, it makes sense for Clubhouse to build out its language options to cater to more demand in the region
In general, however, it has been somewhat surprising to see so many people switch off of Clubhouse so quickly.
Earlier in the year, the social audio app was the darling of the tech Twittersphere, with every other influencer and ‘thought leader’ falling over themselves to praise the app - and to criticize anyone who dared to question its longer term viability.
But since then, with its invite-only exclusivity gone, and other trends, like NFTs, to provide a replacement sense of online superiority, Clubhouse’s popularity has waned, with downloads slowing, and usage seemingly in steep decline.
Indeed, in a recent anecdotal poll among Social Media Today readers on Facebook, the vast majority of responses indicated that people had stopped using the app, or had no interest in trying it, after its early hype.
Of course, Twitter Spaces is more accessible, and there was always the possibility that the popularity of audio social tools would be short-lived either way, with people eventually able to reconnect in person once again, lessening the need for such options.
But still, it is surprising to see how quickly Clubhouse’s rise and fall has been. There was a time when every other social app was scrambling to jump on the audio social bandwagon, with the new trend seemingly taking over engagement.
Now, not so much – though there is still opportunity for Clubhouse to establish its own niche place within the broader social media market, and as noted, there is specific potential in India, which could still see it become a mainstay.