Twitter buys social podcasting app Breaker to help Spaces

You might remember that a few weeks back, we reported on social media giant Twitter’s beta testing of a new feature called Spaces, which will allow users to participate and engage in audio-only chat rooms. Now, Twitter has reportedly bought the social podcasting app Breaker to provide support to Spaces.

Breaker to help Spaces offer deeper connectivity to users across the Twitter platform

Breaker was founded in 2016 and is headed by CEO Erik Berlin and CTO Leah Culver. The app revolutionized podcasting in that it shifted how people viewed its purpose. Once upon a time, podcasts and podcast apps were considered as mere background sounds and tools for improving productivity. Breaker shattered these preconceived notions, and they highlighted the ability of podcasts and podcast apps to build a community by offering users space to engage within the app itself. With Breaker’s team on board, Twitter hopes to “improve the health of the public conversation” on Spaces.

Twitter’s team has been hard at work in making the platform more interactive, and they have been adding new features for users to explore and engage with one another. On December 18, 2020, the Twitter Spaces team tweeted:

The human voice can bring a layer of connectivity to Twitter through emotion, nuance and empathy often lost in text… We see this with voice tweets & voice DMs. Sometimes 280 isn’t enough, and voice gives people another way to join the conversation. Our new experiment brings people together to connect directly in an intimate, conversational Space.

Spaces allows users to chat with one another by using voice instead of text. Many things can get lost in translation when written, or in Twitter’s case, typed down. Voice chat may provide users with another dimension in how they express themselves across the platform. Twitter has been keen on using other products to further develop its platform, and its acquisition of Breaker seems to follow that trend.

The team behind Breaker announced Twitter’s acquisition of the app on their blog. They expressed their optimism and hopefulness at how Twitter will be incorporating their team with the Spaces team to foster a better online community on Twitter. Twitter engineering lead Michael Montano took to Twitter to announce that Berlin and Culver, together with Emma Lundin, a designer at Breaker, will all be joining Twitter’s team.

The Breaker app is shutting on January 15, 2021. Until then, Breaker users will be allowed to transfer their subscriptions to other podcasting apps, while podcast hosts on Breaker can transfer their channels to another app using the RSS feed.

As Twitter has had some trouble moderating content across the platform, we have yet to see how the social media giant will moderate this new feature once it does get launched.

Voice-based social networking provides a lot of potential for deeper engagement between users and to make them more aware of the words they use. On the flip side, it may also foster a more toxic environment. We will just have to wait and see.

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Misha Fabian

Athlete | Performer | Writer