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Clubhouse Adds New ‘Wave’ Option to Prompt Spontaneous Group Chats

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Remember Clubhouse, that buzzy, audio-centric social app that everyone was clamoring to join when they needed an invite to do so, but then lost interest in as soon as the invite-only restriction was lifted?

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration on the drop-off interest, but there has been a pretty clear decline in mentions of the app in recent times.

But for those who are still keen on the app, Clubhouse has this week added a new functionality which leans into a different use case for the platform, in facilitating spontaneous social hang-outs and meet-ups among friends.

As you can see in this video overview, Clubhouse has added a new ‘Wave’ option, which enables you to signal to your connections when you’re active in the app, and open for a chat. If they’re interested, you can then start a smaller, private room – a broom closet, if that’s not stretching the metaphor too much – where just you and your friends can hang out, away from the more topic-focused discussions in the main rooms.  

As explained by Clubhouse:

Here on Clubhouse, more than 700,000 rooms are created every single day. Many of these are the communal moments that you know and love, but it’s often the smaller private moments amongst friends that put smiles on faces: birthdays, long-overdue catch-ups, watching a movie long-distance, making plans for the weekend, or just hanging out on a Thursday night.

The Wave option caters to these use cases, which, much like live-streaming before it, sees audio social now expanding into more private chats and hang-outs, providing another way to stay in touch with friends, at any time – which could be perfect for our still lockdown-limited interactions.

A similar template, in this case, is Houseparty, which gained significant traction a few years back as a live-stream hangout tool for younger users.

Houseparty screenshots

While the main focus of live-streaming, in general, was broadcasting yourself, Houseparty took a different approach, which quickly caught on, with the app racing to 20 million users shortly after launch, while it had more than 1.2 million daily actives after just 8 months on the market.  

That caught the attention of Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, which purchased Houseparty in 2019, with a view to making it the complementary platform for Fortnite players who also wanted to hang out virtually – to see their teammates, as opposed to just hearing them.

That particular use case never caught on, and Epic recently announced that it will be shutting Houseparty down permanently in October. But for a time, Houseparty had tuned into a key trend for streaming that others had missed, in connecting smaller groups, as opposed to public broadcasting, and facilitating casual meet-ups with friends who were up for hanging out at any given time.

Given that use case, it makes sense for Clubhouse to explore the same, and you can see how the option could be of benefit, adding more potential usage options to the app. And maybe, that will help it carve out a more specific niche, because while Clubhouse was the app of the moment a few months back, it clearly won’t be able to sustain its engagement momentum, and with competitors looking to muscle it out of the market, it’ll need to find a key niche – or maybe a few niches – to solidify its place in the broader social sphere.

Spontaneous hangouts could be a part of that, while Clubhouse is still gaining traction in markets outside the US, particularly India, where audio tools tend to facilitate more functionality due to varying barriers in written communication, as well as data restrictions that limit video usage.

So while it’s not the shiny new thing, and Twitter Spaces looks set to become the main audio social platform of choice, Clubhouse does still have various opportunities to explore – and it also recently hired former Instagram entertainment partnerships manager Chelsea Macdonald to help it drive more connections with established and emerging stars and creators.

In addition to this, Clubhouse is also working on new audio ‘Clips’ tool, which would provide another way to share clips from Clubhouse chats, which could be another way to build buzz and get more listeners to download the app.

Can Clubhouse still become a mainstay in the social media space, and a real challenger to the established players?

Maybe not in the sense that it may have seemed to some a few months back, but I see Clubhouse’s potential as more akin to Reddit, with dedicated, passionate, engaged communities connecting in the rooms, providing an alternate, more exclusive space for chats than the bigger social apps.

If Clubhouse can establish partnerships with relevant groups, and build on its potential as a more specialized, more focused community space, that seems like a more viable path, which won’t see the app reach billions of users, but will see it lay more solid foundations for ongoing usage.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: Born or made great?

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The Big 3 have won a total of 56 Grand Slams in their career.

Ecogastronomy, puppet arts, viticulture and enology, influencer marketing, or bakery science. In 2022, you can become anything you want and there are even specialized undergraduate degrees to help you gain all the relevant skills at university. Essentially, you can now be academically trained in any subject and learn practically everything you need to excel at your job.

In the context of sports, and particularly tennis, this is no different. There are plenty of degrees you can pursue to complement your career as an athlete, physiotherapist, or coach with useful knowledge about the human body, anatomy, and health.

This basically means that professional tennis players of the 21st century can complement their extraordinary talent and training routine with a relevant education and an elite team of professional and eminent physiotherapists, coaches, PR, and strategists. Ultimately, players have countless tools that can help them win matches, stay healthy, and be well-liked by the press and the fans.

You can find these ‘A teams’ all around the tour nowadays: players of the former next gen have taken advantage of their early success to incorporate experts on every specialty into their team and others like Carlos Alcaraz or Holger Rune have come directly in the tour alongside first-class teams headed by former World No. 1 and Slam champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and respected coach Patrick Mouratoglou respectively.

Understandably, tennis legends who have been on tour for almost two decades have progressively adapted to the quest for perfection too. You must remember Novak Djokovic’s radical diet change mid-career or Rafael Nadal’s loyal sports doctor for most of his injury-prone career.

21st-century professional tennis players have learned it all as far as tennis skills are concerned. In fact, objectively any top-100 player can produce Djokovesque cross-court backhands or Nadalese down-the-line forehands any time – we have seen rallies of the highest level in practices, Challengers and junior tournaments.

So, one must think that if every player on the tour can produce top-level tennis and is surrounded by the perfect team, what is stopping them from winning 20+ Grand Slam titles like Nadal, Roger Federer, and Djokovic?


Nadal, Federer and Djokovic — the Big 3

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.

The Big 3 — Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic — are living proof that in life there are things you just can’t learn, despite our self-help books saying otherwise. Tennis is different from other mainstream sports in that it remains an individual and extremely mental sport.

These three players belong at a higher level than anyone else, and it is not only the 63 combined Slam titles that separate them from their opponents. It is clearly not their physical form either, quite the opposite currently. It is the ability to remain serene, focused, confident, and indifferent to the crowd, pressure, and expectations, to play one point at a time, whether it is a break or a championship point, and to extract it from the surrounding context.

Being the best of all time does, however, not imply being the better player in all matches. We don’t have to go far back to find an example of a time when Nadal and Djokovic were the clear underdogs in a match. For instance, in Wimbledon 2022 we saw Nadal win a match with an abdominal tear and an average 80-mph serve speed (on a grasscourt!) against Taylor Fritz, a top American player in his best-ever season.

In essence, the three GOATs have had the ability to know how to win even when they are the worst players on the court, and if that greatness is something we all could learn or train for, it would stop being called so and we would see it more often.

Whether it is the experience, intelligence or just intrinsic and unique talent that has led to Big 3’s unprecedented achievements we won’t ever exactly know and, I am afraid, they are giving no opportunity to the so-called Next Gen to even dream of replicating their record book and help us make sense of what it takes to become a tennis master.

In any case, we can only feel extremely fortunate to have lived on the same timeline as the greatest trivalry in sports history. All of us, but the Next Gen, can only hope Nadal and Djokovic do not follow Federer’s retirement path anytime soon. And one only needs to watch their last matches against each other to (rightfully) assume that might not happen anytime soon.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

Poll : Who will end up with most Grand Slam titles?

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

It seems like Elon Musk’s chaotic management approach at Twitter is having some broader impacts, with more companies reportedly considering lay-offs in the wake of Musk culling 70% of Twitter staff (and keeping the app running), and Meta now apparently also considering charging for blue checkmarks in its apps.

Yes, the Twitter Blue approach to making people pay for verification, which hasn’t proven overly popular on Twitter itself, is now also seemingly in consideration at Meta as well.

According to a new finding by reverse engineering pro Alessandro Paluzzi, there’s a new mention in the codebase of both Facebook and Instagram of a ‘paid blue badge’.

Paluzzi also shared a screenshot of the code with TechCrunch:

That does appear to refer to a subscription service for both apps, which could well give you a blue verification badge as a result.

Mets has neither confirmed nor denied the project, but it does seem, at least on the surface, that it’s considering offering checkmarks as another paid option – which still seems strange, considering the original purpose of verification, which is to signify noteworthy people or profiles in the app.

If people can just buy that, then it’s no longer of any value, right?

Evidently, that’s not the case, and with Twitter already bringing in around $7 million per quarter from Twitter Blue subscriptions, maybe Meta’s looking for a means to supplement its own intake, and make up for lost ad dollars and/or rising costs of its metaverse development.

It seems counter-intuitive, but I guess, if people will pay, and the platforms aren’t concerned about there being confusion as to what the blue ticks actually mean.

I guess, more money is good?

Meta has, in the past, said that it won’t charge a subscription fee to access its apps. But this, of course, would be supplemental – users wouldn’t have to pay, but they could buy a blue checkmark if they wanted, and use the implied value of recognition for their own purposes.

Which seems wrong, but tough times, higher costs – maybe every app needs to start digging deeper.

Meta hasn’t provided any info or confirmation at this stage, but we’ll keep you updated on any progress.



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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta’s Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta's Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

YouTube Shorts and Meta’s Reels are both making
headway in the intensely competitive video shorts sector.  

During Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call on Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai reported that YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion
daily views. That’s up from the 30 billion reported in Q1 2022.

However, it still …



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