Beginning Wednesday, Twitter’s Spaces will be available to peruse via desktop and mobile browsers, in addition to the iOS and Android apps that the audio-only chat rooms were previously exclusive to.
Twitter announced the news in a tweet on Wednesday, noting that for now, the engineering team will be carefully monitoring the implementation of several new features, including the ability to set reminders for scheduled spaces, UI that adapts to fit your screen size and transcription services that will render a text record of your conversation.
A screenshot accompanying the announcement makes it look like Spaces will launch on the righthand sidebar of the Twitter homepage, which would enable users to scroll at their leisure as they chat.
starting today, spaces will be available on https://t.co/RD57W4QZPz (mobile web, desktop web)— Spaces (@TwitterSpaces) May 26, 2021
our focus areas:
– infrastructure and listening UI that adapts to your screen size
– setting reminders for scheduled spaces
– accessibility and transcriptions pic.twitter.com/Wb0DQktkhD
Spaces is Twitter’s answer to Clubhouse — the heretofore most well-known addition to the audio-only chat space — as well as several other companies that have recently debuted social audio apps, including Discord and Facebook. As with Clubhouse, Spaces users will be able to invite any of their friends or followers into exclusive, audio-only spaces — although, as Twitter noted to The Verge, web users will initially be limited to joining existing Spaces, rather than being able to host their own.
During its initial rollout of Spaces back in November of 2020, Twitter said that it would be prioritising marginalised communities — groups more likely to experience abuse and harassment on its platform, or online in general — as it makes access to Spaces more widely available. The goal of Spaces, Twitter said at the time, is to enable a sort of friendly intimacy, similar to the vibe of “a well hosted dinner party.”
As anyone who uses Twitter with any regularity will tell you, the platform is particularly good at cultivating the exact opposite sort of vibe — which is to say that it’s usually less like an intimate dinner party and more like a family Thanksgiving dinner gone to shit. Let’s hope that Spaces lives up to its creators’ lofty aspirations instead of becoming yet another arena for a badly-argued political debates that inevitably devolve into shouting, crying and conspiracy theories no one asked for.