Social Media News February 2021

February 2, 2021

Clubhouse – hype or new trend?​ 

 Since January, there has been hype going on in Germany surrounding a new social media platform called Clubhouse. Clubhouse is a social networking app for audio conversations with more than 2 million active users. The app was published in the USA in May 2020 and has generated both positive and negative headlines. Now, it has reached Germany.  


What is Clubhouse exactly?  

According to Jan Firsching from futurebiz, the app allows people to start conversations with friends, and other interesting people at any time. People can join different chatrooms for different topics. Unlike chatrooms in messaging apps and Facebook groups, the dialogue takes place only via audio. This means that no pictures, videos, gifs, or text contributions are used for the exchange. Instead, the participants of a Clubhouse room talk to each other. 

According to SocialMediaToday, it’s a simple, but engaging premise and Clubhouse has benefited significantly from the major buzz around the app, which has resulted in various big-name stars and celebrities jumping into Clubhouse rooms, immediately drawing big crowds. The biggest of these was Tesla founder 

Elon Musk, whose recent Clubhouse appearance broke the 5,000-person limit for a room, and saw users creating secondary listening rooms and live streams on other platforms to follow the conversation. 


How to join the network: 

At the moment, Clubhouse is only available for Apple users with an invite. Android users still have to wait. 

Those who install Clubhouse for the first time are prompted to follow at least 25 people to ensure enough content is available. Additionally, Clubhouse asks for interests, which are used for account recommendations. Interests also play an important role in the search for chatrooms. If there are currently no rooms of your own contacts, the search can be used. For example, there are the categories Knowledge, Languages, Sports, Entertainment etc. 

Tip: Search for accounts you don’t know instead of following the same people on all social networks. For example, look for accounts in the US, since they have left the hype phase already.  

As with any emerging social network, the question is who will be the first to copy the core function? 

This time it’s Twitter that is currently testing Clubhouse-like voice chat rooms called Spaces. According to Mitchell Clark from The Verge, a very small group of users would be given the ability to create Spaces. Who would be allowed into any given space depends on the user who created it.  

A big focus of Spaces is moderation. Creators can control who can or cannot speak in the Space, and there are reporting and blocking features included in the first version. There are more features being tested like emoji reactions, being able to share tweets in a Space and a “very early version” of live voice transcription. Spaces can only be joined via the mobile app and it requires having Periscope integration enabled which is the Twitters live-streaming service.  

What now? 

If you get the chance to try Clubhouse, you should. Check out different chatrooms and search for interesting people and topics. The app can be very useful for networking and education. For companies, joining now can also be a chance to become a big player there. Of course, it depends on your business and what you’re looking to achieve. According to SocialMediaToday, some brands have already started to sponsor some discussions and share their business insights. That also seems to be the key brand benefit-sharing knowledge and insight via the various discussions in order to increase community connection. 

But you should also be aware that the app still can’t protect you from misinformation or people that are racist or sexist etc.  

Still, the app is an exciting new approach and supports the podcast trend. Let’s just see how this goes!    


TikTok introduces Q&A feature​ 

 TikTok is introducing a new Q&A feature which is supposed to make the exchange with the community even more interactive.  

According to Jan Firsching from futurebiz, the function is being tested globally with a small group of creators but is going to be rolled out in the next weeks. TikTok has confirmed that the new feature can only be used by creators with at least 10.000 followers. Of course, a Q&A feature is not a new invention by TikTok. There is also such a feature on Instagram and a long time ago, Q&As were also used quite successfully on Facebook. 

 How does it work? 

If creators activate the feature, an additional button appears in the profile. Questions can now be asked via the button or a link in the creator’s profile. Furthermore, Q&As are also possible with TikTok live streams.  

The advantages of a Q&A are similar to the video answers. You can respond more precisely to the questions and comments of your followers and a Q&A is also very suitable for responding to criticism or taking a clear position. 

Creators can now reply directly to a question or a comment without having to post a new video. Live Q&As gain even more dynamics and are more spontaneous. At the same time, they are more difficult to moderate and follow. 

 Adding a Q&A feature is a good way for TikTok to stay competitive with other social networks. Q&A’s have become an important tool for creators to engage fans on social media. For TikTok creators, this is a new opportunity to express themselves and connect with their audience. 


Instagram is testing two new story functions​ 

 There are two new things being tested on Instagram right now. We have summarized both in the following. Check it out!  

No more feed posts in stories 

 In January, Instagram began sending out notifications to selected users that sharing feed posts in stories won’t be working anymore. Right now, this is only a test in specific regions. According to Andrew Hutchinson from SocialMediaToday, you can still share tweets and IGTV previews, but not normal feed updates. Instagram explains that it can be annoying for people to see the same post twice. That’s why they are testing if this could improve the user experience again. However, according to Ian Carlos Campbell from The Verge, a lot of artists, businesses and organizations are sharing their feed posts in stories to get in front of users. Taking away the ability to reshare is responding to a behavior Facebook and Instagram encouraged in the first place by placing stories so prominently in the app and offering the ability to share them. For now, this is only a test, but if you want to make sure to maximize your Instagram performance, it’s best to create specific content for each placement.

Instagram’s vertical story feed 

 Instagram has confirmed that they are internally testing another TikTok copycat function within Instagram Stories. The platform is currently developing a vertical story feed where you can swipe up and down to view newer/older stories. According to Andrew Hutchinson from SocialMediaToday, the user interface of the function looks very similar to TikTok.  

Again, this highlights the strong influence of TikTok. But it only makes sense for Instagram and Co. to develop similar features. TikTok’s growth is incredible. The platform is on track to reach 1.2 billion users in 2021, up from 500 million in 2018. No wonder, that other social networks are trying to follow the same usage trends and keep their users on their platform.  


Johanna Leffers