Here we go again.
We saw that quite a few years ago with Twitter Periscope and similar apps, and there’s a long history of duplicating features in the tech space (e.g., Snap just mirrored TikTok with their Spotlight feature, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are copying each other).
Sometimes, it feels like startups are just cloning each other. An app gains a huge following, and then other apps start borrowing features.
You could say Clubhouse is the latest victim (or culprit, if you lived through the 70s and remember call-in radio). The app lets you listen in on live conversations and even join the on-stage “panel” by raising your virtual hand.
When I first wrote about the app last month, I was surprised how many people contacted me to request an invite. I’m currently testing it out on a weekly basis and even holding a social media influencer chat soon.
A recent example of companies jumping on the bandwagon? Facebook is apparently creating a new drop-in audio chat feature that will mimic Clubhouse.
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Another one: A certain Shark Tank celebrity seems to be joining in on the fun.
Although, that’s not quite accurate. He might just be amazingly prescient.
While the timing seems odd, Mark Cuban’s Fireside app has been in development for quite a while. One report suggests the interactive podcast app is set to launch this year and that the company had posted job openings as far back as the fall of 2020.
I’m all for the idea. Social media has stayed roughly the same for quite a few years: posting your images and videos, chatting in groups, and building up followers. The main difference between Fireside and Clubhouse is that Cuban’s app will reportedly let you record the conversation and then post it or use it on other platforms.
Now, all of this might sound a bit like we’re repeating history, but I know the real reason this is happening right now. We’re suffering from Zoom fatigue.
When I join a Clubhouse chat or start a new room, I usually breathe a sigh of relief at first. No one can see me or my status. They don’t know if I’m really paying attention, which means I’m able to focus on other things as needed.
It’s like listening to Spotify except you can chime in with the people who are speaking. It’s brilliant. I’ve now attended several chats in recent weeks where I felt like I was interacting with some brilliant minds and sharing ideas.
Fireside could take this a step further because of the recording features, which opens up a whole new realm of possibility. Imagine a power panel of people like Cuban himself giving business advice, chatting with listeners, and even debating topics together. Then, having the recordings available later on (or even for subscribers down the road). I could see an entire audio conferencing empire rising. After all, every good business idea is just an extension of another, right?
I hope it all works out. As someone who has started speaking more on radio programs and podcasts, I’m really warming up to the idea of making chats more interactive. If Fireside really is going to debut soon, I’ll probably be one of the first to sign-up.