A very long time ago, Steve Jobs told Dropbox’s founders that their app was a “feature, not a product”. That holds more true, it seems, for Clubhouse and its audio chatrooms. In a matter of months, Clubhouse has gone from buzzy startup, to a feature integrated into numerous platforms. Downloads are falling, and interest is waning.
Last night, Facebook formally announced that they are pushing into audio:
- “Soundbites” are short-form audio tracks, available across all the company’s products.
- Long-form audio: think Facebook’s take on Podcasts
- Clubhouse-style live audio rooms.
For those of us working on engaged journalism and community management, this is actually good news. It opens up a pretty easy way to do live events in places where we already have a relationship with our readers. This is the critical thing: if you’re a B2B title with a big following on LinkedIn, you can do chats there. If you’re a politics site, Twitter seems the obvious place.
In essence, you’re no longer asking yourself “what’s my Clubhouse strategy?”, you’re asking “what’s my live audio strategy?”.
For Clubhouse, the question will be: is there room for a tool that builds communities solely around audio? There might well be. Certain communities have found themselves a comfortable home there.
But the platform — which doesn’t even have an Android app out yet — will need to move fast and be clever to stop the bigger players slowly squelching it.