Clubhouse is pivoting from stay audio to group messaging

Clubhouse, as soon as the Silicon Valley darling of pandemic-era social media, introduced earlier this 12 months that it was half its workers as its founders pivoted to constructing “Clubhouse 2.0.” Now, the corporate is sharing the outcomes of its large 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 friend-centric voice chats, the corporate stated in . As a substitute of sprawling rooms the place customers host live-streamed conversations open to any and the entire app’s customers, the brand new Clubhouse will as a substitute encourage customers to hitch teams with folks they know.

The teams are, considerably confusingly, referred to as “chats,” and permit pals and friends-of-friends to change voice messages. There’s nonetheless a “drop-in” ingredient, nevertheless it’s much less targeted on real-time speaking and geared extra towards one thing like an Instagram Story — a vacation spot for checking in and sharing fast updates. The app can be text-based direct messages in favor of personal audio messages which, sure, it’s calling voicemails or VMs.

The largest shift, nevertheless, isn’t simply the format of the conversations however that Clubhouse is now positioning itself as extra of a Snapchat, the place smaller teams of pals talk privately or semi-privately, than a Twitter, the place all of the app’s customers are shouting into the void. “It’s not about passively listening to folks talking,” the corporate wrote in . “You possibly can take heed to nice conversations on podcasts, YouTube, TikTok, and plenty of different platforms. It’s about speaking with folks … and changing into real-life pals with your pals’ pals, and other people you by no means would have met in any other case.”

Whereas the pivot to messaging app might make extra sense given the steep decline in engagement Clubhouse noticed after pandemic restrictions eased, it’s unclear if the corporate will be capable to return to the identical of 2021, when it attracted thousands and thousands of customers and a multibillion-dollar valuation. Clubhouse, whose founders claimed earlier this 12 months that that they had “years of runway remaining,” seem to be they aren’t taking success as a right their second time round.

They ended their announcement of the redesign with a little bit of warning. “It’s a giant wager, and we hope we’re proper…”