Joining Conversations on Twitter Spaces

Joining conversations on Twitter Spaces - promo image for #TwitterSmarter community chat on 18, February, 2021

Have you heard about the latest on Twitter yet? It’s called Spaces and people say it’s a Clubhouse competitor. Is it though? What does Twitter Spaces mean to regular Twitter users? That’s what we wanted to find out in our #TwitterSmarter chat. So we asked all of you—our lovely community members—to share your thoughts on the new kid on the block. It was a great chat full of exiting discoveries and opinions about the platform we all love. Here’s a summary of our community chat on all things Twitter Spaces.

Topic: Joining conversations on Twitter Spaces
Guest: You! Our community.
Format: Eight questions. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Have you participated in any Twitter Spaces conversations?

Most of our #TwitterSmarter community hadn’t participated in Twitter Spaces at the time of our chat.

At the same time, some select members like Elias have been participating in Spaces for a while, and even got access to host their own Spaces.

If you don’t have access to Spaces yet, don’t worry. Twitter has been extremely selective in how many people they give access to at a time, and they have a public form where you can sign up to be on the wait list. Sign up and keep an eye on their Twitter handle as well. They also do community chats every week—join in and see how you like it!

At the time of writing this blog post, Twitter Spaces is only available on the mobile app for iOS users. But we do know that Twitter is testing their Android version and it’s expected to be rolled out in March. *fingers crossed*

Q2: Are you excited to explore Twitter Spaces?

Our members unanimously agreed that they’d love to explore Spaces more. Part of the reason, as Rachel from Express Writers mentioned, is to understand how this shiny new feature can fit in with their overall Twitter strategy.

For most people in our chat, like Christine, Spaces is yet another way to interact with a community they’ve already established.

With Clubhouse making a name for itself as the new much-talked about social network, it’s created a whole new level of interest in audio communication, as Alberto pointed out. People are curious to see how Twitter Spaces can compete and still stand out from its slightly older counterpart.

Q3: How do you know someone’s started a conversation in Spaces?

The easiest way to identify an ongoing Spaces conversation, as Jim told us, is to look at the top section of Twitter’s iOS app. In place of Fleets where you’d normally see a blue circle around a person’s profile picture, you’ll instead see a purple circle if they’ve started a conversation in Spaces.

As more people join the conversation, two circles loop, as Masooma put it, to form a more oval-like shape. It’ll be a combination of two people you’ve already interacted with in the past who are speaking in that space at the time. You just have to click to join in.

Here’s how it’ll look.

However, you’ll only see the purple circle if you’re on the mobile app during the conversation. It’s still unclear if Twitter will send you notifications for when someone starts a conversation. A few people in our #TwitterSmarter chat pointed out how Clubhouse notifications can be quite annoying. It’s likely that Twitter is still working out their notification algorithm to be more strategic and targeted.

Q4: What are some interesting topics you’ve seen discussed on Spaces?

Rachel was one of the few on our chat who’d been on multiple Spaces discussions. She told us how she’d been involved in conversations about marketing, social media strategy, and of course, the inevitable topic of Clubhouse verses Twitter Spaces.

Mr. Dre, a new member to our weekly chat, has been a Spaces host for a while now. He shared some of the topics he’s been talking about, including food, politics, business, and mental health. He’s even done game nights on Spaces!

Kimberly, another newcomer to #TwitterSmarter, has also been a Spaces host for a while. She mentioned some generic topics as well including, trauma, COVID-19 and the lockdowns, parenting and family, and social issues.

If you’ve been on Clubhouse, you’ll know that these are common topics on that platform as well. It just goes on to show that regardless of which platform we use, even serious business people like to talk about a variety of life-related things. Audio platforms are bringing out the inner human in us.

Q5: What are some do’s and don’ts when joining a conversation on Spaces?

It’s pretty much the same as joining a Twitter chat. Kelly put it nicely. Don’t be afraid to join in, and when you do, introduce yourself. Listen to what others are saying and when you speak, be polite and try and add value to the conversation. Simple—follow basic courtesy and don’t be a spammer.

Kevin brought up a couple more important points that are crucial in an audio-only environment. Because you have no way of telling who wants to say something, you’ll probably interrupt someone at some point. When that happens, be nice and apologize. It’s only natural and if someone speaks at the same time as you, know that it’s accidental. Don’t get too caught up in it.

Secondly, when you have the mic, respect other people’s time—don’t speak for longer than you need to. A good conversation is where everyone has a chance to voice their thoughts.

Q6: What are some common bugs to watch out for when joining a conversation on Spaces?

The most common issue you’ll come across when you’re in a conversation is the delay on audio. This, we heard, happens to everyone on our chat. Regardless of whether you’re a speaker or listener, you might hear the conversation a few seconds later.

Also, as Jeremy added, the feature is still a bit glitchy and it might cut you off out of the blue. The app is also prone to crash at times. When any of that happens, just open Twitter again and you can join in as usual.

Janette shared another common issue with us. The app might log you out of Twitter occasionally. In that case, you’ll have to launch the app again, sign in, and then rejoin the conversation.

Twitter is well aware of all these little bugs and they’re actively working to fix them. However, it’s also important to recognize that Spaces is still in beta. If you come across any new bugs, report it right away to help Twitter make Spaces better. When you’re in Spaces, you’ll see a small icon on the bottom right corner where you can offer feedback.

Q7: What do you think differentiates Twitter Spaces from Clubhouse?

As Azad put it so well, Twitter Spaces is often more regulated because the hosts have a credible profile and community before they even get access to Spaces. This means it’s also less likely for unqualified people to masquerade as experts during a conversation. On Clubhouse, however, it’s much harder to vet someone’s achievements. Even though Clubhouses prompts users to connect their Twitter and Instagram handles to help others verify them, it’s not entirely a natural transition of credibility.

Ryan made a good point about social media fatigue. Spaces feels like a natural extension of Twitter because you already have an established presence on Twitter. Conversely, Clubhouse being a new platform altogether, you have to start building your profile, credibility, and influence from scratch.

Though most people get the hang of it pretty quickly, you still start from zero—even if you have an established community elsewhere. Unless you’re Elon Musk—in which case you’ll have millions of followers faster than you can say space.

Another big difference between the two audio channels is that Twitter Spaces allows you to react with emojis even if you’re in the audience. As Mr. Dre added, the hosts can also provide additional context to their audience by pinning tweets within Spaces. Twitter is also doing a lot on the accessibility front, adding transcripts to live conversations. These are all significant functionalities that’ll set Twitter Spaces apart.

On the flip side, John pointed out how Clubhouse, as a platform, is so much more clean and easy to use than Twitter Spaces. He also mentioned that Clubhouse has been an effective tool to increase his social followership on both Instagram and Twitter because it makes it easy for people to click through from Clubhouse to these other channels.

Q8: What would you talk about if you got early access to Spaces?

James told us he’d like to talk more about mental health, career transitions, and resilience.

Fun-loving Justin said he’d talk about ‘80s sitcoms.

Many of our chat members come from business and marketing backgrounds. And so, as Mike said, they’d prefer to talk about succeeding in business, marketing tactics, and topics around growing sales and revenue.

Well, folks. That’s all from me this week. Thanks a lot for reading, and for more insights from our community chat about Twitter Spaces, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. If you enjoy our chat summaries, then you’d love the live #TwitterSmarter chat—come join us on Thursday at 1pm ET. Snow storm or Christmas Eve, our chat will be on! (Except on Thanksgiving Day, because food.)

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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