Recently, Twitter has been testing out some new features for users to explore across the platform. There is Twitter’s acquisition of Squad, the free app that allows users to share screens with friends. Twitter also released Fleets this year, which is a feature that allows users to post Tweets that disappear after 24 hours, just like an Instagram Story. Now, Twitter announced that it is conducting private beta tests of a new feature called Spaces, which is an audio-only chat room service. A small group of Twitter users has been selected to take part in the beta testing period, and they could invite their followers and other users across Twitter to join in.
Twitter first brought up the idea of audio-only chat rooms back in November. The social media platform said that it would prioritize marginalized communities or those who would be more likely to get harassed or attacked across the platform, in terms of who would be able to access Spaces first. The users who create Spaces are the ones who have full control over the conversation within their respective Space, which means they get to determine who gets muted or kicked out of the chat room. Twitter hopes that this will allow for more progressive, intimate and productive conversations across the platform without the character limit for Tweets. The team behind Twitter aims to foster the atmosphere of “a bomb dinner party” where “you don’t need to know everyone to have a great time, but everyone feels comfortable at the table.”
The new feature even has a Twitter profile where the team behind Spaces keeps users updated on what’s happening. The team emphasizes the power of speech to help users connect more deeply, tweeting:
“The human voice can bring a layer of connectivity to Twitter through emotion, nuance and empathy often lost in the 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.”
Those who have access to the feature can create their own Space by using the Fleet section, which can be found by swiping right on their screens or by doing a long press on the button that is typically used to compose Tweets. Twitter has said that it will make the feature available to over a hundred iOS users over the next few weeks to gauge how effective the new feature will be. On top of the audio-only chat rooms, Twitter is also testing out a host of other new features, like sharing Tweets in a Space, making “reactions similar to hand gestures,” reporting and blocking users, and creating live voice transcriptions.
Spaces seems to be geared toward moderating content across the platform. This does not come as a surprise as similar platforms such as Clubhouse, an audio-based chat room app, has had some trouble in regulating user behavior across the platform. We are still waiting to see the full impact of Spaces once more users have access to the feature.
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