No matter how you look at it, the going is certainly getting tougher for audio social pioneer Clubhouse.
Over the last week and a bit, Facebook announced a slate of new audio social products across its various surfaces, Reddit added ‘Reddit Talk‘, its own take on the format, and Instagram launched audio-only IG Live streams, providing more alternative options for Clubhouse’s key functionality.
And then today, Twitter delivered another full-handed slap to Clubhouse’s face, with the expanded launch of its audio Spaces offering to all Twitter users, on iOS and Android, who have more than 600 followers.
Clubhouse, as a reminder, doesn’t yet have an Android app.
You would imagine that the mood around Clubhouse HQ is pretty tense, but for now, the app continues on its own path, moving forward with its own development plans, and into the next stage of its expansion. Or ‘renovation’, I guess, because it’s a Clubhou… never mind.
That expansion, of course, will primarily focus on a full roll-out, which will involve opening up the app to all users and releasing an Android version.
There’s nothing new to report on the former as yet, but on the latter, Clubhouse is progressing to the next stage of its Android app development.
As reported by TechCrunch:
“The company announced during its weekly town hall event that its Android version has entered beta testing with a handful of non-employees who will provide the company with early feedback ahead of a public launch.”
Clubhouse confirmed the test in its weekly Town Hall notes:
Town Hall Highlights
???? Continued work on Android, payments, & lots of plumbing
???? Fixed bugs in a second release after last Sunday’s update
???? Watch Clubhouse HQ for an update on the Creator First Program Weds @ 9am PST
???? @anuatluru confirms she is still watching Survivor
— Clubhouse (@joinClubhouse) May 2, 2021
The fact that Clubhouse doesn’t haven’t an Android app has now become a much bigger impediment, with competitors launching their audio tools across all versions of their apps. That could make it a much harder sell for Clubhouse to eventually get Android users across – why would people switch to a new app for audio social meetings when they can get the same functionality in the tools they already know and trust, and within which they already have their established connection networks?
This could become the defining question in the lifecycle of the Clubhouse hype machine, which has used its invite-only FOMO factor to build a significant presence, but may end up losing out entirely due the very same restriction.
Given this, Clubhouse needs to work fast to expand quickly, while also improving its discovery algorithms in-step, and maximizing creator incentives to avoid losing its top broadcasters to these alternative tools.
Which is another element of focus. As you can see in the above tweet summary, Clubhouse is also still working on payments, another means to incentivize its top broadcasters to remain active in the app, in addition to its Creator Accelerator Program, which provides participants with support and $5k in monthly payment for the period that they’re a part of the scheme.
These are key elements that Clubhouse needs to get right, which will dictate where it goes next.
Will it be able to stand up in the face of rapidly rising competition, or will the challenge prove too great, and leave Clubhouse as the next Meerkat, an app that rose fast, then declined just as rapidly, before shutting down completely at just 17 months of age?
It’s still too early to call, but Clubhouse’s window does appear to be closing. It needs to prop it open with some big moves soon.
In addition to this, Clubhouse is also looking to add:
- New prompts for listeners to follow a club after they’ve joined a room and tuned in for “a few minutes”
- An improved RSVP flow for individual events, separate from following a Club or speaker
- A new addition for profiles which will list upcoming events to better promote participation
These are obviously smaller, but still helpful tweaks – and it’s worth also noting that Clubhouse has a dedicated, passionate user base, who have formed strong communities within the app.
Given this, Clubhouse may still be able to hold its own, and carve out its own niche.
Again, its next moves will be critical in this respect.
Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …
Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.
Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.
Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.
Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.
Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.
Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.
— Yash Joshi (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021
5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android
Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.
You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).
You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.
While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.
We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.
Credit: buffer / app store
Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.
Credit: preview / app store
Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.
Credit: content office / app store
An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.
Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.
Credit: plann / apple store
You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…
Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.
Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters
From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.
It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.
TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.
I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones
More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.
People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.
A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.
Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said: “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.
“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.
“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”