Social audio app Clubhouse is adding a text chat function to its voice rooms, it announced Thursday. Similar to what you see in Discord or a Zoom call, users who don’t want to speak can write out their opinions in the room’s chat channel. While it may seem counterintuitive for an audio-only app to also feature text, it’s a change that some users have been gunning for. Especially in extra-large rooms or rooms dominated by a few celebrity speakers, an in-chat function may be the only way some people can join the discourse.
But a chat function can also be a moderation nightmare, as anyone who has spent a few minutes on Twitch can attest to. Clubhouse has laid out a few ways for creators to keep their rooms from flying off the handle. Creators can appoint mods to delete messages and kick out disruptive users from the room. You can also report messages that violate Clubhouse’s user guidelines to the platform. For those who would rather keep their rooms audio-only, the in-chat room function is optional. Creators can opt-out of in-room chat when they create their room. And if you choose to record your room’s audio, the written chat log will also be saved.
As social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit add Clubhouse-like features, Clubhouse is starting to resemble the rest of social media. Once only available as a mobile app, Clubhouse last month rolled out a way for people to listen to conversations on their desktops. Users can also send direct messages to each other with Backchannel. As live voice chat rooms become less of a novelty, Clubhouse will likely have to get creative in order to keep up with competitors.