Twitter has been testing some features and fully rolling out others to its users at a rapid pace as of late, similar to WhatsApp.
But its main focus, away from a new verification system and monetization features, has been Spaces, its take on live chat rooms held within the app or on the web.
It’s Twitter’s ongoing mission to test out new features while retaining the essence of what the platform has always been about – hosting discussions.
However, while the aim of Spaces and its constant improvements has been admirable, I wonder if Twitter can maintain this momentum for the next 12 months.
Giving users space
From its earliest days, one of the internet’s biggest draws was that it enabled people to talk and exchange ideas in online groups, – from chatrooms to forums, to messaging apps like MSN Messenger.
Podcasters have also gotten in on the act, with hosting platforms and live streamed shows having IRC chat rooms attached, so the hosts can answer questions during or towards the end of the episode.
This is where Twitter Spaces comes in, as it creates discussions where hosts and moderators can allow listeners to be part of the conversation as well. It’s kind of like a live radio show with a phone-in.
With Twitter having abandoned Fleets, which enables users to share content for 24 hours in a similar way to Instagram Stories, Spaces has taken over its spot at the top of users’ Twitter feeds, making it easy for users to listen in to or join a discussion that interests them.
Recent updates also enable users to be moderators, with the ability to remove participants, manage requests and even have Spaces to host 10 speakers.
making it easier to manage your Space…introducing co-hosting!- hosts have two co-host invites they can send- the table just got bigger: 1 host, 2 co-hosts, and 10 speakers- co-hosts can help invite speakers, manage requests, remove participants, pin Tweets and more! pic.twitter.com/s76JFbhTL2August 5, 2021
A space with a catch
While Spaces has been going from strength to strength, with constant improvements appearing every month since its debut earlier this year, there’s still a catch to the feature.
Twitter needs to add a few more basic features to Spaces in order for it to shine, such as the ability to publish a Space to a podcasting platform, and the ability to access Spaces on other devices, such as iPads or gaming consoles.
Streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube have enabled PlayStation and Xbox consoles to host gaming sessions for many years now. Spaces can also shine here, by opening up possibilities for reviews and preview impressions on Spaces as users play a game – the launch of Halo Infinite, scheduled for later this year, could be a big opportunity for this.
Twitter has its own opportunity here to really make Spaces the center of discussions on Twitter. While Fleets never caught on, Spaces can become Twitter’s way of shaping the online discussion space, while giving a voice to groups that would previously not have had the opportunity to take part in discussions on certain topics.
Individuals who previously were only listeners can become speakers, and in turn can be inspired to host their own Spaces about other topics that they’re passionate about.
This alone gives Twitter a big opportunity, and for many users it could go some way towards making the platform fun, and genuinely useful, once again.