Clubhouse has added a new way to improve Room discovery, with a new re-share option that will enable users to highlight interesting sessions that they’re in to other users.
The process is essentially Clubhouse’s version of re-tweeting, in order to help amplify great discussions.
As explained by Clubhouse:
“Now when you tap the “Share” button at the bottom of a room (or Replay), you’ll see three options: Share on Clubhouse, share via a social network, or copy the link to share via a messaging app. If you select Share on Clubhouse, you’ll be able to add a comment (e.g., “This person is rapping people’s bios and it’s insane”) and then share it to your followers. They’ll see this room in their Hallway and, if the room is live, also be notified that you shared it so they can come join you.”
To be clear, Clubhouse has had the share via social network and share via messaging app options for some time, it’s only the new, internal sharing function that’s been added.
Discovery has proven to be a major challenge for audio social platforms, as it had been previously with video live-streaming, because while giving everyone the capacity to stream content provides functional benefit, the challenge, from an audience-building standpoint, is that it also means a lot of low-quality broadcasts will inevitably be added into the mix.
Every video streaming app found the same, with initial hype drawing audiences in, then quality issues seeing them drop-off.
Blab founder Shaan Puri summed up the challenges with live-stream quality in his announcement of the demise of that app back in 2016:
“The struggle with live-streaming is that we need to show you something awesome that’s being made right now. Turns out, that’s really tough. It killed Meerkat, and Periscope & FB Live are feeling the pain right now. In live-streaming, the churn is real. We hoped replays would help, but less than 10% of all watch time was on replays. Why? Because the off-the-cuff, unpredictable nature of livestreams make for terrible replays.”
The challenge of showcasing the best of live-streaming content, in real time, as Puri notes, has killed off many a platform entirely, and while audiences will reliably tune into the best, most interesting streams, relative to their interests, in order to do that, they need to know when they’re happening, which puts the onus on the platforms to come up with better algorithms and recommendation processes to highlight such at any given time.
No platform has got this right yet, and Clubhouse’s new share option is another step in this direction. Which is unlikely to end up being a major element in the broader battle, but it is another step to help move things in the right direction.
But the real value will be in building a stable recommendation system that can let you know, as soon as you go to listen, what you should tune into. The platform that can get this right stands to maximize the full value of live audio – but if they can’t, each will continue to lose audience interest over time.
In this respect, Facebook’s approach, in restricting its audio broadcast options to popular users and groups could be a better, more targeted way to go, while LinkedIn also looks set to see more value from its own take on audio social by tying it into its events offering.
Both Twitter and Clubhouse, meanwhile, have a big challenge in filtering the mass of streams down for each user.
In addition to the new share option, Clubhouse is also launching new analytics, with share and clip counts now displayed at the bottom of each room, and a new Room insights page now in development.
That could help refine your audio strategy, with increased information on audience specifics, in order to better target and plan your future activity.
On another front, Clubhouse has also added web listening, which will enable anyone to listen to a Clubhouse room from their phone or laptop, without needing to download the app.
“To start, [web listening] will work for both Replays and live Rooms with Replays enabled, and will include support for most major browsers. It will be rolling out as an experiment in the US starting today. If you find it useful, we’ll plan to expand support to cover more room types, more countries, and more parts of the full Clubhouse experience over time.”
It’s hard to say what the future holds for Clubhouse, the much-hyped star of the early part of last year. At one stage, Clubhouse was valued at $4 billion, and was being touted by some as the future of social connection, but as competitors rose, and audience interest waned, it has seemed, to many, like the app was indeed a flash in the pan, a fad that holds little value moving forward.
But Clubhouse is still moving forward. The app was downloaded 2.6 million times in December (up from 1.8 million in November), and while US audiences are less interested than they once were, the app has surged in the Indian market, which holds huge potential, if it can maintain a hold in the space.
And there is value in niche communities and engagement in the app. Sure, the initial projections may have been overhyped, but there is still potential in the platform, which could carve a space for itself, if it can continue to evolve, and align with specific use cases.
It may not be the place to be, in a broader sense, but it is still worth checking in on Clubhouse rooms, and tuning into relevant chats as you find them. The capacity to share with connections will add to this.