As Twitter strives to make its audio Spaces a more prominent part of the overall platform experience, finding and discovering Spaces has become a significant challenge – because if Twitter is not alerting users to in-progress Spaces of interest, the platform stands to lose out on significant engagement potential.

Which is the key impetus behind this new addition – today, Twitter is launching a new test that will show you when someone that you follow on Twitter is listening in to a Space, by highlighting that broadcast at the top of your timeline.

Twitter Spaces in progress

For the time being, Twitter has only done this when someone you follow is participating in a Spaces conversation; but, Spaces that your contacts are even tuning into will now be highlighted as well, offering another another method to draw attention to potentially interesting topics.

This might also be frightening for some people. You might not want others to know that you’re tuning in to a Space on a topic that you’re interested in or that you’re watching a dubious show. As a result, Twitter has provided a simple button to turn off notifications when you’re listening to a Space podcast (as shown in latter two screenshots above).

While this is a positive development, it is important to note that some individuals may be completely unaware of what is taking place, and some will be quite angry when they discover that their followers have been revealed to be listening into dubious discussions inside the program.

Twitter Spaces in progress

To put it another way, would you want others to know that you’re listening in on this debate? For the sake of simplicity, I’ll use an example from the Spaces search engine.

Twitter must have determined that the risk was worth it, at the very least enough to conduct a live test of the feature, which it should continue to do since, as previously said, increasing discovery is critical in order to realize the potential of Spaces.

As Clubhouse is discovering as it expands its user base, optimum discovery of live audio is becoming increasingly difficult since the increased number of individuals streaming necessarily lowers the overall quality of the streams available at any one moment. While video live-streaming, which allows anybody to broadcast whatever they want in real time, is an intriguing feature to have, the majority of individuals are simply not that good at keeping an audience’s attention for long periods of time.

There’s a reason why the same TV hosts appear on every live event – it requires ability and perceptual nous to read the room and keep the discussion moving in order to maintain the audience’s attention at the forefront of one’s mind. And while it can be learnt, it does not come easily to the majority of individuals, resulting in the majority of live broadcasts being less than spectacular.

As a result, increasing the number of broadcasts actually increases the number of discovery difficulties, because you’re now dealing with a continual stream of content that has to be sifted through in real time in order to find the pearls that each user will really be interested in hearing.

That’s why Twitter just added subject tags for Spaces, which will aid in the manual filtering of the listings. These tags will also likely play a significant role in filling the upcoming Spaces page on each user’s profile.

Spaces topic tags

The fact that Facebook and Reddit are both extending out their audio meeting options to groups and subreddits, respectively, suggests that they may actually have an advantage in terms of audio broadcast discovery. Because both applications can offer you recommended talks based on your registered preferences, rather than trying to pick out the best from a much wider pool of incoming audio, the field of suggestions is immediately narrowed as a result.

The drawback of taking this strategy is that you are unlikely to reach as big an audience as you would with Spaces, which is arguably the best choice given the real-time nature of Twitter and the emphasis that it is placing on Spaces broadcasts right now. When it comes to the new Spaces tab on Twitter, for example, the company could look to highlight the most popular spaces at any given time – but if it just ends up showing everyone a constantly rotating display of BTS-related streams (note: there are many BTS related Spaces), that’s probably not the best user experience.

The problem that Twitter currently confronts as it seeks to push the choice even farther is illustrated by the following: It will lose its appeal very quickly if it is unable to deliver the content you desire. You will stop checking the Spaces tab as soon as it is available, and the choice will be gone faster than you can say “Fleet.”

Is Twitter up to the task? Twitter’s knowledge graph, which is built on your followers, the topics you’re interested in, and other information that it can track, can be used to show you the Spaces that you’re most likely to be interested in at any given time. Can Twitter use its knowledge graph to show you the Spaces that you’re most likely to be interested in at any given time?

Based on my previous experience with Twitter’s current topic recommendations and the tweets that it displays in my Explore tab, I’m not confident that it will get this right – but, with far more insights into user behaviors and interests than Clubhouse, it appears pretty clear that Twitter will at the very least beat out the incumbent in this regard.