Twitter Tests New Topic Tags to Spaces to Improve Discovery
With the addition of a dedicated tab and new highlight tools, Twitter is attempting to place a greater emphasis on its audio Spaces. The platform is also attempting to improve Spaces discovery, ensuring that each user is alerted to the most relevant, in-progress audio chats that are aligned with their specific interests.
In accordance with this, Twitter is presently developing a new feature that would allow Spaces hosts to include subject tags in their Space, thus increasing the reach of their Space.
???? We’re working on making it easier to share and discover Spaces you are interested in. Here’s a prototype built by one of our engineers @linukxxx, of a way for hosts to tag their Spaces with Twitter Topics. pic.twitter.com/qpUNcQ0ZBs
— Kim (@kim_yle) August 11, 2021
Using this early example, you can see that when establishing a Space, hosts will soon have the option of adding up to three themes relevant to the conversation, which will then promote that Space to users who are interested in those subjects.
Here’s a look at a more advanced version of the topic selection process:
As people discovered with live-streaming, while providing everyone with the ability to broadcast at any time can have significant connection and engagement benefits, once everyone can stream, the overall quality becomes diluted very quickly, and it can be difficult for people to sift through the flood of broadcasts in order to find anything of relevance within the experience, as people discovered with social media.
Clubhouse has recently been under fire for one of the most common criticisms: that the steady increase of app access has resulted in an invasion of Rooms, making it almost difficult to locate relevant, high-quality broadcasts inside the app.
Twitter’s Spaces are also at risk of becoming irrelevant, and while the company will rely on algorithms to highlight the most relevant Spaces to each user, adding topics to the stream could be another way to filter the stream and sift out the best live discussions to tune into at any given time, according to the company.
In fact, with their live audio capabilities, Facebook and Reddit may be able to gain an advantage over their competitors. Reddit has adopted a similar approach by creating audio rooms associated with particular subreddit communities, while Facebook has focused on groups, which means that audio conversations are limited to topics that each user has previously shown an interest in.
That could help them to keep their audio recommendations on topic and relevant to each individual user, whereas Twitter and Clubhouse have taken a more general approach, increasing the discovery potential for each chat while also increasing the likelihood of oversupply and the need for effective sorting. Twitter and Clubhouse have gone the more general route, boosting the discovery potential for each chat while also increasing the likelihood of oversupply and the need for effective sorting.
Is it possible for them to pull it off? Is it possible for each app to develop a relevance model for audio broadcasts that will optimize engagement by alerting interested users to Spaces and rooms that they may be interested in?
History suggests that this will not be an easy job, and if Twitter’s existing subject suggestion algorithms are any indication, I wouldn’t hold my breath for much in the way of results.
However, it is possible that by enabling manual subject selection in Spaces, it will be able to narrow down the listings and highlight more relevant conversations to each user, which would also help it better fill its upcoming Spaces tab, which should be released in the app soon.
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