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Twitter Launches Live Test of Topics in Spaces to Improve Discovery

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After previewing the option in development last month, Twitter has now launched a live test of topic tags in Spaces, which will better enable the platform to highlight relevant Spaces chats to interested users as they happen, potentially broadening the reach of your audio broadcasts.

Spaces topic tags

As you can see here, the new Spaces topic tags can be added in the set-up process, with Space creators able to add up to three topic tags to each session.

As explained by Twitter:

When creating or scheduling a Space, some of you on Android can choose up to 3 Topics to tag it with from a list of our top 10 Topics. But it’s only 10 Topics for now and we’ll expand as we build together.”

So your options are fairly limited at present, with only 10 tags, in total, available, and only on Android. But still, the idea is that it will provide Twitter another way to maximize Spaces reach, by showcasing in-progress broadcasts to people based on the topics they engage with in the app.

The question then is where Twitter might look to showcase these Spaces, and how it will define reach.

Right now, Twitter will show you in-progress Spaces from people you follow at the top of the app, where Fleets once were – and maybe, with this addition, Twitter could also look to expand that to Spaces on Topics that you follow too, to keep people in the loop on relevant content.

Twitter could also look to highlight relevant, in-progress Spaces in its dedicated Spaces tab, which may or may not be coming to all users at some stage in future.

Twitter Spaces tab

Either way, it’s an important element – because while Spaces can be an engaging, interesting option, right now, for most Spaces broadcasts, you don’t have any way of knowing when they’re happening, unless you’re following all the right people in the app.

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In fairness, tuning into Spaces from people you follow is probably the biggest use case for the option. But if Twitter wants to maximize audio social usage, and boost engagement through Spaces broadcasts, it needs to also showcase each Space to the biggest potential audience – and as such, honing in on key interests is a key step, which will help to boost listenership, and subscriptions, based on Spaces content.

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And really, if Twitter can’t get discovery right, people will lose interest in Spaces pretty quick. Clubhouse users are already lamenting the increasing array of rooms in the app, as a result of it opening up to all users, which has made it harder to find relevant, interesting discussions at any given time.

If people can’t find things to tune into, without significant effort, they’ll stop trying – and even with topic-based sorting added, there’ll still be a level of sorting through the chaff to get to the actual, quality broadcasts and broadcasters on each topic.

Ideally, Twitter would be able to rely on its algorithm sorting to highlight relevant Spaces in each users’ Explore feed, even without the need for topic tags, as it could ascertain likely topics based on each broadcasters’ profile. But based on the topic recommendations I see from Twitter, I don’t have much faith in that – which, again, puts more emphasis on manually entered topic tags as a means to maximize listenership.

It’s an important element, and while it’s only in limited form right now, you can expect to see Twitter develop this quickly as it looks to boost Spaces in the coming months.  

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Twitter Adds New Spaces Recording and Management Tools as it Continues to Focus on Audio Options

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Twitter Adds New Spaces Recording and Management Tools as it Continues to Focus on Audio Options

I remain unconvinced that Twitter Spaces will ever become a thing, but Twitter itself seems certain that there’s major growth potential there, as evidenced by its continued push to add more elements to its Spaces offering, in order to lure more listeners across to its Spaces tab, and maximize listenership within its audio broadcasts.

This week, Twitter has rolled out another set of Spaces updates, including permanent recordings (as opposed to them deleting after 30 days), the capacity to save recordings after broadcast, and new details within the Spaces bar at the top of the app.

First off, on permanent recordings – after initially launching its Spaces recording feature to all users back in January, Twitter is now extending the life of those recordings beyond the initial 30 day period.

That’ll provide more capacity to attract listeners over the longer term, and keep your conversations alive in the app.

In addition to this, Twitter’s also adding a new listing of your recorded Spaces within your app settings menu, where you’ll be able to play each session back, delete those that you don’t want to keep, or share a recording direct from the list.

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That’ll enhance the functional value of Spaces chats, making them more podcast-like, and more of a vehicle for ongoing promotion and audience building – though it does seem to also maybe go against what made audio platforms like Clubhouse so attractive to begin with, in that they were live, in-the-moment chats that you had to be there to catch.

But podcasts is clearly more of the angle that Twitter’s now going for, based on these example screens of another new test in the back end of the app.

Twitter Spaces Stations test

As you can see in these images (shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi), Twitter’s also developing ‘Stations’ within the Spaces tab, which would incorporate podcasts into its audio stream, providing even more options for tuning into on-demand audio content within the app.

That could make Spaces recordings even more valuable, and potentially help Spaces broadcasters translate their work into a monetizable podcast process – but do Twitter users really want to tune into podcasts from the app? I mean, we have Spoitify and Apple Podcasts and various other options available.

Could Twitter really become a key hub for audio content like this?

In some ways, it seems unnecessary, but then again, the real-time nature of tweets lends itself to topical discussion, and that could make it a good hub for all of these types of discussions and content, including Spaces, Spaces recordings, podcasts, etc.

And again, that would better facilitate connection between Spaces and recorded audio. It just depends on whether Twitter users will actually come to rely on the app for their latest podcast content.

On another front, Twitter will now also enable iOS users to record a Space when the broadcast is over, even if they didn’t hit ‘Record’ during the session.

Twitter Spaces recordings

Which also means that the ‘REC’ marker would not have been present during the session, alerting participants to the fact that this was being recorded, which could be problematic for some contributors.

In some ways, it seems like Twitter didn’t offer these options initially because it thought that it wouldn’t be able to facilitate the data storage required to keep all of the many recordings in its data banks, but now, with so few people broadcasting, it’s maybe found that this won’t actually be a problem.

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A sort of ‘glass half full’ element, I guess.

Finally, Twitter’s also adding new details into the Spaces bar on Android, including additional, scrolling insights into who’s hosting, the topics being discussed, who’s shared a Tweet in the chat and more.

Twitter Spaces info

That could entice more users into the session – or at the least, bring even more attention to the Spaces bar at the top of the app by providing more, bigger info.

Though again, I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like Spaces is really catching on, going on the participant numbers in the Spaces stream. And while the addition of podcasts could be interesting, I don’t see Twitter becoming a key app for audio content, especially as the Clubhouse-led audio trend continues to die down.

But maybe the engagement numbers are better than it seems. I mean, you’d have to assume that they are, given Twitter’s ongoing investment in the functionality – through Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal did note last month, that the company had not hit intermediate milestones on its growth plans, based on its investment in new functionalities like Spaces, Communities and Twitter Blue.

Twitter hasn’t shared specific data, so maybe there’s more to it, and that’s why it’s so keen to push ahead with more Spaces tools. But either way, it’s giving it its best opportunity to succeed, and it’s seemingly not done yet with its Spaces development.

Will that, eventually, result in Spaces becoming a thing? Only time will tell.



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