Clubhouse is pivoting from stay audio to group messaging

Clubhouse, as soon as the Silicon Valley darling of pandemic-period social media, announced earlier this yr that it was laying off half its employees as its founders pivoted to constructing “Clubhouse” Now, the company is sharing the outcomes of its huge reset, with a redesign meant to make Clubhouse “extra like a messaging app.”

The audio app is pivoting from its signature “drop-in” audio conversations to good friend-centric voice chats, the corporate stated in an update. As an alternative of sprawling rooms the place users host stay-streamed conversations open to any and all the app’s users, the new Clubhouse will as an alternative encourage users to hitch teams with individuals they know.

The teams are, considerably confusingly, referred to as “chats,” and permit associates and buddies-of-buddies to trade voice messages. There’s nonetheless a “drop-in” factor, however it’s less targeted on real-time speaking and geared more towards one thing like an Instagram Story — a vacation spot for checking in and sharing fast updates. The app can also be ditching text-based mostly direct messages in favor of private audio messages which, yes, it’s calling voicemails or VMs.

The most important shift, nevertheless, isn’t simply the format of the conversations however that Clubhouse is now positioning itself as more of a Snapchat, the place smaller teams of associates talk privately or semi-privately, than a Twitter, the place all the app’s users are shouting into the void. “It’s not about passively listening to individuals speaking,” the corporate wrote in an replace. “You possibly can take heed to great conversations on podcasts, YouTube, TikTok, and numerous other platforms. It’s about talking with individuals … and turning into actual-life pals with your folks’ associates, and other people you never would have met otherwise.”

Whereas the pivot to messaging app might make more sense given the steep decline in engagement Clubhouse noticed after pandemic restrictions eased, it’s unclear if the corporate will be capable of return to the identical buzzy highs of 2021, when it attracted hundreds of thousands of users and a multibillion-greenback valuation. Clubhouse, whose founders claimed earlier this yr that that they had “years of runway remaining,” look like they aren’t taking success without any consideration their second time round.

They ended their announcement of the redesign with a little bit of warning. “It’s an enormous guess, and we hope we’re right…”

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