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Clubhouse Moves to Next Stage of Testing for Android App, Continues to Develop Payment Tools

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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:

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.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Snap making changes to direct response advertising business

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Snap making changes to direct response advertising business

The company posted a net loss of $288.5 million, or 18 cents a share, including $34 million in charges from its workforce restructuring. That compared to a profit of $23 million, or one cent, a year earlier.

Snap ended the fourth quarter with 375 million daily users, a 17% increase. In the first three months of the year, the company estimates 382 million to 384 million people will use its platform daily.

Snap has become a bellwether for other digital advertising companies. Last year, it was the first to raise concerns about the slowdown in marketer spending online and to fire a significant number of employees—20% of its workforce—to cut costs in the face of falling revenue.

The company has spent the last two quarters refocusing the organization, cutting projects that don’t contribute to user and revenue growth.

In the first quarter, Snap expects the environment to “remain challenging as we expect the headwinds we have faced over the past year to persist.”

Investors will get additional information about the state of the digital ad market when Meta and Alphabet report earnings later this week.

—Bloomberg News

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

After reinstating thousands of previously suspended accounts, as part of new chief Elon Musk’s ‘amnesty’ initiative, Twitter has now outlined how it will be enforcing its rules from now on, which includes less restrictive measures for some violations.

As explained by Twitter:

“We have been proactively reinstating previously suspended accounts […] We did not reinstate accounts that engaged in illegal activity, threats of harm or violence, large-scale spam and platform manipulation, or when there was no recent appeal to have the account reinstated. Going forward, we will take less severe actions, such as limiting the reach of policy-violating Tweets or asking you to remove Tweets before you can continue using your account.”

This is in line with Musk’s previously stated ‘freedom of speech, not freedom of reach’ approach, which will see Twitter leaning more towards leaving content active in the app, but reducing its impact algorithmically, if it breaks any rules.

Which means a lot of tweets that would have previously been deemed violative will now remain in the app, and while Musk notes that no ads will be displayed against such content, that could be difficult to enforce, given the way the tweet timeline functions.

But it does align with Musk’s free speech approach, and reduces the onus on Twitter, to some degree, in moderating speech. It will still need to assess each instance, case-by-case, but users themselves will be less aware of penalties – though Musk has also flagged adding more notifications and explainers to outline any reach penalties as well.

“Account suspension will be reserved for severe or ongoing, repeat violations of our policies. Severe violations include but are not limited to: engaging in illegal content or activity, inciting or threatening violence or harm, privacy violations, platform manipulation or spam, and engaging in targeted harassment of our users.

Which still means that a lot of content that these users had been suspended for previously would still result in suspension now, and it leaves a lot up to Twitter management in allocating severity of impact in certain actions.

How do you definitively measure threats of violence or harm, for example? Former President Donald Trump was sanctioned under this policy, but many, including Musk, were critical of Twitter’s decision to do so, given that Trump is an elected representative.

In other nations, too, Twitter has been pressured to remove tweets under these policies, and it’ll be interesting to see how Twitter 2.0 handles such, given its stated more lax approach to moderation, despite its rules remaining largely the same.

Already, questions have been raised on this front – Twitter recently removed links to a BBC documentary that’s critical of the Indian Government, at the request of India’s PM. Twitter hasn’t offered any official explanation for the action, but with Musk also working with the Indian Government to secure partnerships for his other business, Tesla, questions have been raised as to how he will manage both impacts concurrently.

In essence, Twitter’s approach has changed when it chooses to do so, but the rules, as such, will effectively be governed by Musk himself. And as we’ve already seen, he will make drastic rules changes based on personal agendas and experience.

Twitter says that, starting February 1st, any previously suspended users will be able to appeal their suspension, and be evaluated under its new criteria for reinstatement.

It’s also targeting February for a launch of its new account penalties notifications.



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4 new social media features you need to know about this week

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New social media features to know this week


Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.

LinkedIn

Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.

Instagram

After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.

 

 

First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.

Twitter

In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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