Best practice tips for hosts:
- Welcome people who join as much as you can so they feel comfortable and included in the space
- Remember, your space is your own, so you can run it how you like. Be that, organic conversation with no agenda, a loose topic, or a slightly more structured chat/Q&A (i.e. for learning/knowledge sharing purposes). Have confidence in your own personal style
- Provide context to the conversation when possible – let people know what’s being/been/going to be discussed.
- Good times to do this include:
- At the start
Part way through your space
- When you’ve noticed a number of new people join
- Practise good listening. People who join spaces like to feel seen and heard (especially if they’re speaking) so try to show that you care and understand them. Making thoughtful comments about what they’ve said, and thanking them for their input can help with this
- Be respectful. Sometimes people feel compelled to overshare in audio conversation, perhaps because they feel closer to people in this medium. While this can be interesting it can also be difficult at times so try to always act with kindness, grace and respect – but remember to stay practical and diplomatic and look after yourself as a host.
- Be confident in being assertive. If you are hosting a more structured conversation and it digresses, feel free to re-align with the topic respectfully. Asking other/new speakers for their perspective is a great way to get back on topic AND make more people feel included.
- When the size of the space allows – try to include others that haven’t spoken yet. Invite them to speak and ask them if they want to. But also tell them it’s fine if they feel more comfortable listening.
- Knowing when to listen and just let the convo flow… especially when the topic is on track. People will dig deep into things which is cool
Best practice tips for listeners and attendees:
- “Read the room”. Try and gauge whether the space is casual and anyone can say anything and talk for however long they want. OR if the space is structured and there is a specific objective. Many people tend to disengage when speakers unexpectedly share long “life stories” out of context in a more structured space. Yet, this can be great fun and add so much depth in a more intimate “dinner party” style space.
- Listen and be respectful about other people’s turn to speak, and their opinions. Everyone’s opinions are valid.
- Wait for a pause to speak – don’t interrupt people. Just like in real life 🙂
- Don’t be scared to speak if you have something to say! People love to hear from others and that is the point of spaces! So many people have spoken about feeling anxious speaking for the first time. Once you’ve done it once or twice, it becomes more natural.
And now for everything else:
What is Twitter Spaces
Since Q4 2020, Twitter has been beta testing a new audio functionality, where people can host a virtual “space”, invite up to 10 people to speak, and engage with an unlimited number of attendees through audio conversation, emoji reactions and sharing tweets in the space.
Right now, this functionality is only on iOS, and a small group of us have been beta testing this on behalf of twitter. It was only a couple of hundred of us a few weeks ago but it’s really exciting to see rollout happening so far. At last count yesterday, there are approximately 3000 of us beta testing this across the world right now. It’s just a matter of time before Spaces is on Android and rolled out fully! I can’t wait for everyone to get access to it and see where these conversations go!
To date, the vast majority of Spaces take the form of a “dinner party” vibe (a small group of us OG beta testers even have a DM group called Dinner Party haha 🍽🍸). The conversation is most often casual, with no agenda, or a loose one. I’ve hosted a couple of these which are really fun for getting to know people! But I’ve also had a busy few weeks so have committed to hosting slightly more structured-yet-casual ones with the objective being learning through open conversation and casual Q&A.
The main use cases:
- “Dinner Party” style conversations with a lose agenda, if any at all
- Moderately structured Q&A and “Ask Me Anything” style conversations
Use cases I want to see happen:
- Audio dating
Lol. Don’t get me wrong – I know some of you might this is crazy! But there is something very intimate about chatting to people through live audio and there is something to be said for that intimacy accelerating people’s friendships and relationships! I’ve got my eye on this vertical… And I am very tempted to myself as the matchmaking Cilla Black of Twitter Spaces. Message me if you want me be your matchmaker! 💘
On a serious note – what does this mean for brands?
First and foremost, this medium is one step towards being more human (that is such an Anthro vibe..!) and it’s so refreshing. Unlike the increasingly augmented reality of other platforms where visual filters f*ck with our senses and perception of reality, Spaces is taking a step backwards and re-engaging one of our 5 senses – hearing! The simplicity of sound is what is going to make Spaces *BLOW UP* in the next year.
Since sound and voice is so deeply linked to the individual, this isn’t really the forum for brands to portray a corporate business narrative of themselves. Instead, Spaces provides an opportunity to show the humans who make up the business. What they do, what they know, what they’re learning, what they love… And all aspects of them as people.
While brand accounts could in theory host Spaces after roll out, there seems no real benefit to a faceless brand hosting a conversation. So I wonder if this Clubhouse principle will apply to Twitter in future too..?
Clubhouse is the first big social network on which companies structurally can't participate as companies.
— Packy McCormick (@packyM) February 20, 2021
The Twitter team themselves are doing this in an amazing way, with open conversations hosted by the likes of Twitter UX Researcher Danny Singh with the objective of gaining feedback from users, and senior staff like Research Director, Reggie Murphy hosting Spaces sharing “Research War Stories”.
These session are so real and authentic to a “day in the life of “ people at Twitter – it’s an approach other brands should certainly be inspired by.