In early February I wrote about Spaces, Twitter’s competitor to Clubhouse, and it seems that every other social media company has since followed suit. Facebook, Slack, and even Spotify have announced that they’re working on similar products. Although not completely unsurprising, LinkedIn too has confirmed that it has begun work on a social audio-only feature.
While this may be bad news for Clubhouse, an app that’s still in its beta stage, we have to ask ourselves the bigger question: is this really necessary?
All social media platforms have one primary goal – to make you spend as much time on them as possible vs their competitors. Hence, their efforts to copy their competitor’s features, ethical or not, essential to their survival. Evolve, or fade to obscurity as Snapchat did.
However, LinkedIn isn’t supposed to be your-run-of-the-mill social media platform. When it first launched, and for many years afterwards, it was a tool that supposedly connects professionals and organizations together. These days, however, it seems to be turning into a Facebook clone – something that people have both raised concerns over and mocked horrendously – that hides behind the veneer of professional networking.
This shift into “socialtainment” – think Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok – have turned it into something most users don’t recognize anymore. Will the addition of a Clubhouse-like feature mark the end of the professional networking site it once was?
While many of these concerns are valid, I’d have to play devil’s advocate when it comes to the addition of this new feature. Clubhouse, with all its positives and negatives, is being used for seminars, business discussions, industry groups, and interviews with industry leaders. This may be exactly what LinkedIn needs to help them get back on track. In theory, this social-audio feature would allow users to get closer to industry experts, entrepreneurs, and educators, thereby enabling them to gain inside knowledge of many industries.
In theory, the Clubhouse-like feature may actually end up making LinkedIn a much better networking platform than it was before, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that things don’t always go according to plan. We will have to wait and see whether the social-audio feature may be the saving grace that LinkedIn so sorely needs, or whether it’s the final nail in its coffin before it’s lowered to the depths of obscurity.