With Twitter looking to put more emphasis on its audio Spaces, with the addition of a dedicated tab and new highlight tools, the platform is also focused on improving Spaces discovery, and ensuring that each user is alerted to the most relevant, in-progress audio chats, aligned with their specific interests.
In line with this, Twitter’s currently testing a new option that would enable Spaces hosts to add topic tags to their Space, helping to maximize reach.
???? We’re working on making it easier to share and discover Spaces you are interested in. Here’s a prototype built by one of our engineers @linukxxx, of a way for hosts to tag their Spaces with Twitter Topics. pic.twitter.com/qpUNcQ0ZBs
— Kim (@kim_yle) August 11, 2021
As you can see in this early example, when creating a Space, hosts will soon be able to add up to three topics related to the discussion, which will then highlight that Space to users interested in those subjects.
Here’s a look at a more advanced version of the topic selection process:
That could prove to be a key step – because as people found with live-streaming, while giving everyone the capacity to broadcast at any time can have major connection and engagement benefits, once everyone can stream, the overall quality gets diluted very fast, and it can be hard for people to sift through the flood of broadcasts in order to find anything of relevance within the experience.
This is one of the key criticisms that’s been leveled at Clubhouse of late, that the gradual expansion of app access has lead to an influx of Rooms, which has made it almost impossible to find relevant, quality broadcasts within the app.
Twitter’s Spaces are at risk of the same, and while it will also need to rely on algorithms to highlight the most relevant Spaces to each user, adding topics could be another way to filter the stream, and sift out the best live discussions to tune into at any given time.
This is actually where Facebook, and Reddit, could end up winning out with their live audio tools. Facebook has made groups its focus for audio discussions, which means that they’re confined to discussion areas that each user has already expressed an interest in, while Reddit is doing the same, with audio rooms attached to specific subreddit communities.
That could help to keep their audio recommendations on topic, and of relevance to each individual user, while Twitter and Clubhouse have gone the more general route, boosting discovery potential for each chat, but also, leading to more issues with oversupply, an increasing the need for effective sorting.
Can they do it? Can each app build a relevance model for audio broadcasts that will maximize engagement by alerting interested users to Spaces and rooms of interest?
Based on history, this will not be a simple task, and if Twitter’s current topic recommendation algorithms are anything to go by, I wouldn’t be expecting a lot.
But maybe, by providing manual topic selection in Spaces, that could help it narrow down the listings, and highlight more relevant discussions to each user, which would also help it better populate its coming Spaces tab, which should be launched shortly in the app.