Twitter has been testing out a lot of features recently, with some proving more successful than others. The latest test is called Spaces and it’s a feature that allows users to create “spaces” where they can have live audio chat sessions with others.
The test is limited to a very select number of users at the moment, but could prove a very interesting addition to its suite of features if released in full to its community.
the human voice can bring a layer of connectivity to twitter through emotion, nuance and empathy often lost in text. we see this with voice tweets & voice dms. sometimes 280 isn't enough, and voice gives people another way to join the conversation.
— Spaces (@TwitterSpaces) December 17, 2020
As Engadget describes it, Spaces could work much in the same way as the popular audio-only chatroom app – Clubhouse. This as anyone can listen in on the Spaces discussion, but only the host can decide who gets to actually be involved in the conversation. Those listening to a Spaces session will also have emoji-based reactions available, much like Fleets.
This could prove a very useful tool for groups that regular hold discussions online, or perhaps be applied in an education-focused environment for interaction between teachers and students.
That said, it could also be used negatively.
Twitter has come under criticism in recent years as working much like an echo chamber, amplifying only the voices that you wish to hear thanks to the nature of its algorithm, which is after all designed to keep users on the platform for as long as possible – for better or worse.
As such, the far-right and more nefarious parts of Twitter could exploit a feature like Spaces to create chatrooms where only their ideas are heard and spread.
This is of course an extreme application of the new feature, but no doubt something that Twitter will need to consider should Spaces rollout to the entire community.
For now it remains a test for selected users, so we’ll have to wait to see what happens.