The clubhouse’s list of competitors is growing. LinkedIn has now confirmed that it is also testing a social audio experience in its app that will allow creators on the network to connect with their community. Unlike clubhouse rivals that are built by Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn believes that the audio network function will be differentiated because it will be linked to the users’ professional identity, not just a social profile. In addition, the company has already developed a platform that serves the creative community, which today has access to tools such as Stories, LinkedIn Live video broadcasting, newsletters and more.
And just today, LinkedIn formalized some of its efforts in this area with the launch of a new “Creator”
This focus on creators puts LinkedIn on a competitive footing when it comes to expanding its own clubhouse rival, compared to other efforts from Facebook, Twitter, Telegram or Discord – all of which have their own audio-based networking features at different stages of development at this time.
Although Twitter’s clubhouse rival, Twitter Spaces, is already living in beta testing, the full set of creative tools has yet to arrive. In fact, it was only last month that Twitter announced plans for a larger subscription platform for creators via a new “Super Follow” feature, for example. And it only came into the newsletter this year through an acquisition. Meanwhile, Facebook has historically offered a number of creator-focused features, but has recently invested in tools such as newsletters.
LinkedIn says the development of an audio-based networking feature came about because members and advertisers have asked for more ways to communicate on their platform.
“We are seeing almost 50% growth in conversations on LinkedIn reflected in stories, video sharing and posts on the platform,” said Suzi Owens, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn, as he confirmed the development of the audio feature. “We do some early tests to create a unique sound experience related to your professional identity. And we are looking at how we can bring sound to other parts of LinkedIn, such as events and groups, to give our members even more ways to connect with their community, ”she said.
As a result of the creators’ interest in this room, the company moved quickly to develop its own clubhouse-like function, where there is a stage showing the room’s speakers and a set of listeners below. There are also tools to join and leave the room, respond to comments and ask to speak, according to screenshots of the interface first discovered in the LinkedIn Android app by reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi.
Note that Paluzzi filled in the user interface with his own profile icon, shown in the photo he tweeted. It’s not part of the LinkedIn mockup. Instead, LinkedIn shared its own conceptual UX mockup of its in-room experiences with TechCrunch, which shows a more in-depth example of what the feature might look like at launch.
LinkedIn believes that because the audio experience will be linked to users’ professional identities, they will feel comfortable talking, commenting and otherwise engaging with the content, the company told TechCrunch. It will also be able to leverage its existing investment in moderation tools built for other features – such as LinkedIn Live – to help resolve any concerns over inappropriate or harmful discussions, such as those that have already plagued Clubhouse.
“Our priority is to build a reliable society where people feel safe and can be productive,” Owens said. “Our members come to LinkedIn to have respectful and constructive conversations with real people, and we are focused on ensuring that they have a safe environment to do just that,” she said.
In addition, LinkedIn says that audio networks provide a natural extension of other areas, such as groups and events – areas for networks that have continued to grow, and especially during the pandemic.
In 2020, around 21 million people attended an event on LinkedIn, and the total LinkedIn sessions increased by 30% from the previous year. The company’s 740 million global members also built communities last year, had conversations and shared knowledge, with 4.8 billion connections.
Like many companies that saw a pandemic increase, LinkedIn believes that the pandemic only accelerated the natural development towards networking, teleworking and virtual events, which were already in place before locks. For example, LinkedIn says that more than 60% of members worked remotely by the end of 2020, compared to 8% before the pandemic. LinkedIn believes the shift will continue, as more than half of the world’s workforce is expected to continue working from home for at least part of the time, even after the pandemic ends.
It allows new forms of online networking to grow, including audio experiences.
LinkedIn does not currently have an exact time frame for the launch of the audio network feature, but says that it will soon start beta testing.