Do you remember when all the apps wanted to have stories? Good times. Now you have ephemeral stories even on LinkedIn, because yes, why not. Stories were the trendy format, what everyone used to share photos of combo dishes on Instagram or whatever gets shared on Twitter Fleets, and all platforms adopted the format.
But the world changes, people change and now what is cool is the audio. Because that’s how social networks are, adapt or die. The fact is that now what is cool is Clubhouse, a social network that despite being available only on iOS is hitting a bad thing. Evidently, now all platforms want to be or imitate Clubhouse And maybe, just maybe, it’s not really necessary.
It is also not necessary for all apps to have live audio
One thing that really strikes me is that realtime audio is older than walking forward. In other words, it was in 1899 when Guglielmo Marconi, making use of an invention by Nikola Tesla, made the first wireless communication from England to France. A little later, in 1901, the first transoceanic communication was made. Come on, live audio has its years.
However, Clubhouse has had to come to make it fashionable again. Or rather, to give that “live” point that the audio lacked, because it is no secret that the consumption of podcasts has grown a lot in recent years. The problem with this format is that it is neither live nor interactiveUnless it is recorded live on Twitch, for example.
Clubhouse allows exactly that: X people meet in a room and as many people join that room and listen to what they have to say. On paper it is interesting and the truth is that you can take advantage of it, but it works because it is new and because it is a social network dedicated solely and exclusively to that. The problem is when an app that already has functions beyond its possibilities adds live audio because it is what it plays.
And there we have several examples such as Telegram and audio rooms in public channels / groups, Instagram with its four-person broadcasts, Twitter with Spaces and even LinkedIn, which also wants audio rooms. Even Spotify, which is an app for listening to music and podcasts, has bought the developers of Locker Room, a “Clubhouse for sports”, to launch its own alternative. Even Facebook is said to be working on his proposal!
Because you know what suits an app that has a zillion functions of which three are used very well? Add one more function that, in practice, will be relegated to the background. And why do they do it? Excellent question. From my point of view, the reasons are the following:
- Fear of being left behind: If now everyone consumes live audio, it is possible that users of an app that does not have that function stop spending time in that app and consider that it has become old.
- Retain user: If you have two influencers talking about a topic in an app, users will stay there listening to what they have to say. More time in the app, more ads consumed, more potential revenue for the company.
They are obviously legitimate reasons, but they lead to the following question: Is it really necessary that all apps have the same functions? Perhaps it is not all bad that Twitter has a certain focus on text, that Instagram focuses on photography, that TikTok focuses on virals and that Clubhouse focuses on audio. Perhaps it is not bad that there is some diversification and that the apps do not overwhelm the user with infinite functions that perhaps, and only perhaps, they will not use.
And with this I do not mean that Clubhouse should not compete, far from it. There we have Stereo, who is also going strong. I simply say that it is not necessary to reach everything, that if in a platform, app or social network, call it whatever you want, it does not make much sense to put live audio rooms, nothing happens. Okay, nothing happens if Excel, my fridge, or the Windows recycle bin don’t have audio rooms. Really, nothing happens.
This article is part of a weekly section by Jose García dedicated to approaching technology from a more relaxed, personal and informal point of view that we publish in Xataka every Saturday.