Twitter is still trying to make Spaces happen, this time by turning it into a podcast discovery platform. Announced in a blog post on Thursday, the social media app is testing a redesigned Spaces tab that groups audio content together by subject, as well as includes podcasts for the first time.
“Our internal research indicates that 45% of people who use Twitter in the US also listen to podcasts monthly, so we’ll automatically suggest compelling podcasts to help people easily find and listen to the topics they want to hear more about,” the post says.
(Of course, these statistics didn’t necessarily need to be linked. One hundred percent of people who use Twitter also use the bathroom, many even simultaneously, but that doesn’t mean a Twitter feature guiding you through pelvic floor exercises would be enthusiastically received.)
Under the redesign, Spaces will create hubs of audio content that share a similar theme, such as news, sports, or music. Like Twitters’ For You feed, these Stations will be tailored to individual users according to the content and accounts they interact with on Twitter.
Significantly, Stations won’t only include the live and pre-recorded Spaces that Twitter currently hosts, but also suggest pre-recorded podcasts. Users will also be able to help customise the algorithm by giving suggested podcasts a thumbs up or down to indicate their level of interest.
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The new Twitter Spaces tab is currently being tested on a select group of English-language accounts.
Twitter Spaces has struggled to sustain an audience since it was unveiled in 2020, when it aimed to compete with the now-flailing Clubhouse app’s brief success. According to internal documents sighted by the Washington Post, Spaces’ listeners had dropped below one million by July 2021. Even more unfortunately, Twitter’s largely unmoderated feature had become an attractive platform for white supremacists and extremists within six months of rolling out to everyone.
It certainly seems as though there would be no shame in Twitter letting this particular feature die. Even so, the company seems determined to somehow make Spaces work.