Recently, Twitter released Twitter Spaces in hopes of continuing to compete and dominate in the social media market. Much of this was a response to the success of other social media accounts using more “live” features such as stories, hangouts, and live streams.
The results of Twitter Spaces have been a mixed bag of positives and negatives, with a gradual decline in engagement and usage. While there are some promising signs of its potential, the new feature hasn’t exactly been a game changer.
What is Twitter Spaces?
Twitter Spaces is a feature that allows accounts of at least 600 followers to host a live voice stream in a “Space.” The host has the ability to allow up to 13 speakers to participate in the discussion, and the conversation is available for anyone to listen to, whether they are following the host’s account or not. In other words, it is a podcast with a few nice perks.
While there are a few purposes behind these Spaces, one of the main goals is to allow hosts and communities of people to come together and have a discussion about any topic. Spaces were also seen as a great way to grow a brand, gain an audience, or build up a community.
Twitter Spaces hasn’t been a total trainwreck; however, it certainly hasn’t lived up to the expectations or hopes of Twitter. It’s impossible to know exactly why it hasn’t taken off, but there are some theories that make sense.
The first potential reason that Twitter Spaces hasn’t taken off is that it hasn’t been great for growing brands. If someone is looking to hire employees on Spaces, early results have shown that it’s probably better to utilize a professional recruiting agency. This same lack of success can also be applied to trying to sell products, gain new followers, or build a business
There are likely two reasons for this. First, many people are unaware of what and how to use Twitter Spaces. Unlike other big updates on other social media accounts, Spaces wasn’t widely advertised to the public. Many people have stated that one day the Spaces option appeared on their feed and they weren’t sure what to do with it.
Unlike other social media platforms that have always had a variety of ways to post and interact, Twitter has been used for posting short, written-out messages along with videos and photos. The idea of having a live conversation took users by surprise and could be a major reason for its lack of success. Think of it like going to a movie, just to find out it is in 3D. Sure, it may be cool, but it may not have been what was expected.
The goldilocks effect
Another reason Spaces may be struggling is because of who/how it is being used. For someone who already has thousands of followers, they likely already have ways of getting a message out and making money while doing it. Twitter Spaces doesn’t really allow for that. Technically, money can be made on Twitter by using Space Ticket or the Tip Jar options, but early reports are showing that nearly no one buys tickets or gives tips on the platform.
With this being the case, anyone with a large following is going to take their opinions and podcasting somewhere they can make money. On the flip side, someone who doesn’t have a huge following – remember you need 600 followers first – may hesitate to host a Space. Hosting a Space and having only one or two people show up can be embarrassing and do more harm than good to someone’s reputation.
In other words, the risk/reward is very low. Finding the right candidates to host a Space is already alienating a majority of the platforms that are either too small to host or too big to take the risk.
Will Twitter Spaces ever work?
The potential for Twitter Spaces to succeed is there. The issue is somehow creating a culture where Twitter becomes a podcast app. Until that happens, people will continue to use other apps such as Clubhouse, Twitch, or Facebook Live to post live content.
Some companies have been able to completely change their identity and excel, such as Amazon. Originally, Amazon was a book company that underwent many changes, such as starting an internet search engine, Block View, and forcing workers to clock in sixty-hour weeks. Through years of growth and experimentation, it became what it’s today.
For every Amazon, there are a hundred companies that have failed. The only question is whether Twitter is the next Amazon of social media or not.