Twitter Spaces 101: A Practical Guide ✨ | 👀 Anthro Newsletter #028

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Welcome to your weekly source of must read content about brands, culture and actionable insights. If you’re a founder, at a start-up, in agency or in house - this is the place for your dose of industry news. I’m trying to make this one of the most valuable emails you receive each week. If you’ve enjoyed this issue, please hit the 💗 button.

Hello wonderful friends,
I hope you’re all well today and feeling good in the run up to spring! I’m getting the feeling things are looking up after this long pandemic, so let’s use the excitement of a slightly easier year ahead to smash whatever we’re working on right now! You got this babe 💕💪🏼

Now, let’s get straight to business. Last month I told you all about evolving social media landscape - of which Twitter Spaces is a part. Today let’s do a deep dive on Spaces!

What is Twitter Spaces:

Okay, so it’s become apparent to me that some of you still don’t fully know what Twitter Spaces is..? And for the other half of you who do know - please scroll down to read about how you can use it best.

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 for the fab Twitter team. It was only a couple of hundred of us a few weeks ago but it’s really exciting to see rollout happening so fast. At last count yesterday, there were approximately 3000 of us beta testing this across the world. 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 lose 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 of 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 think 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 position myself as an experimental matchmaking Cilla Black of Twitter Spaces. Message me if you want me to be your matchmaker! 💘

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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 unique 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 individuals who make up a collective.

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..?

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 sessions 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.

👀 3 best practice tips for hosts:

So, if you’re already blessed with “hosting” capabilities - good for you! Have an experiment - below are some tips I’ve put together based on my own hosting experiences so far. Also, if you’re not yet a host - everyone will be soon! 👀 You can read the full list of host best practice tips here.

  • Remember, your space is your own, so you can run it how you like. Be that, organic conversation with no agenda, a lose 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

  • 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. Tell them it’s fine if they feel more comfortable listening.

👀 3 best practice tips for listeners and attendees:

Anyone on iOS can join a Space right now - so get involved! 👀 You can read the full list of listener/attendee best practice tips here.

  • “Read the room”. 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.

  • 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 comfortable.

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Thanks for reading this week! Hopefully see you on Twitter Spaces soon! Be sure to pop in and say hi! Don’t be shy - I’ll welcome you and be nice, I promise! 😘

Sanya 😊

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Written by Sanya-Jeet Thandi, a brand strategist & consultant with a love for culture, start-ups and good karma. British Indian currently in Kent & London. You can connect with me on Twitter, but not Instagram, because it’s boring so I deleted it.

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