The number of competitors on Clubhouse’s list is rising. LinkedIn has now announced that it is also testing a social audio experience in its app, which would enable LinkedIn creators to communicate with their audience. Unlike Facebook and Twitter’s Clubhouse rivals, LinkedIn claims its audio networking feature will stand out because it will be linked to users’ professional identities, not just their social profiles. Furthermore, the company has also developed a forum for the creator community, which includes features such as Stories, LinkedIn Live video broadcasting, newsletters, and more.
LinkedIn just formalized some of its efforts in this field with the introduction of a new “Builder” mode, which allows anyone to set their profile as one that can be followed for updates, such as Stories and LinkedIn Live videos.
As contrasted to other initiatives by Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, or Discord — all of which have their own audio-based networking features in different stages of production at this time — LinkedIn’s emphasis on developers puts it on a competitive footing in terms of expanding its own Clubhouse competitor.
Though Twitter Spaces, a competitor to Clubhouse, is already in beta testing, the full collection of creator resources has yet to arrive. Indeed, Twitter only revealed its plans for a larger creator subscription platform last month, through a new “Super Follow” feature, for example. And it was just this year that it made its way into the newsletter room via an acquisition. Meanwhile, Facebook has long offered a range of creator-friendly features but has only recently begun to invest in resources like newsletters.
According to LinkedIn, the creation of an audio-based networking feature came about as a result of requests from its members and creatives for more ways to connect on the web.
When announcing the creation of LinkedIn’s audio feature, Suzi Owens, a spokesperson for the company, said, “We’re seeing nearly 50% growth in conversations on LinkedIn, as reflected in articles, video shares, and posts on the site.” “We’re conducting preliminary research to develop a specific audio experience tied to your professional identity. We’re also looking at taking audio to other areas of LinkedIn, such as events and groups, to give our members even more opportunities to communicate with their peers,” she said.
The company moved quickly to create its own Clubhouse-like element, which includes a stage showcasing the room’s speakers and a collection of listeners below, as a result of creators’ interest in this space. According to screenshots of the interface first discovered in the LinkedIn Android app by reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, there are also tools to enter and leave the room, respond to comments, and request to talk.
Paluzzi’s picture shows a user interface of his own profile icon, which is visible in the screenshot he tweeted. The LinkedIn mockup does not include that. Instead, LinkedIn sent TechCrunch a conceptual UX mockup of its in-room experiences, which shows a more fleshed-out example of how the feature would look when it launches.
According to TechCrunch, LinkedIn claims that because the audio experience will be linked to users’ professional identities, they will feel comfortable chatting, posting, and otherwise engaging with the content. It will also be able to use its current investment in moderation tools for other features, such as LinkedIn Live, to address any complaints about inappropriate or harmful conversations, such as those that have already plagued Clubhouse.
Owens said, “Our priority is to create a trusted community where people feel secure and can be productive.” “Our members come to LinkedIn to have respectful and meaningful discussions with real people, and we’re committed to providing a healthy space for them to do so,” she said.
Plus, according to LinkedIn, audio networking is a natural extension of other networking areas such as Groups and Events, which have continued to grow in popularity, especially during the pandemic.
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In 2020, approximately 21 million people attended a LinkedIn experience, with total LinkedIn sessions increasing by 30% year over year. With 4.8 billion connections made last year, the company’s 740 million global members created a community, had interactions, and shared information.
LinkedIn, like many other businesses that benefited from the pandemic, argues that the pandemic merely accelerated the inevitable transition toward online networking, remote jobs, and interactive activities, which were already in place prior to the lockdowns. According to LinkedIn, more than 60% of its participants will be operating remotely by the end of 2020, up from 8% before the pandemic. LinkedIn predicts the trend will continue, estimating that more than half of the world’s population will continue to work from home at least part of the time after the pandemic is over.
This opens the door for new ways of online networking to emerge, such as audio experiences.
LinkedIn hasn’t given a specific date for the launch of the audio networking feature, but it says beta testing will begin soon.