Community Chat Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts and thoughts from various community managers.
Podcasts are big, with 37% of people in the US listen to a podcast at least once a month. But now we're seeing a rise in live audio content and along with it, audio communities. What's so special about live audio? Zeeshan Sheikh, founder of Spaces, explains it really well:
"It’s authentic, unedited, raw and off-the-cuff content. Not only can it be consumed on the go, or while doing other activities, it allows people in the group to get to the details much faster than [text]. Audio will have one thing that text will never have - emotion."
Ok but what is an 'audio community'? A string new of new social apps has appeared in the past few months, including Clubhouse, Spaces and Chalk. They provide space for live audio conversations, enabling users to create rooms and communities to facilitate these ongoing conversations. Another community platform, Discord, has had audio channels built in since day one, but this new breed of social app is audio-first (and in most cases, audio only).
Back in April we wrote about the rise of Clubhouse, the semi-secretive audio app that had the VC world falling over itself. They ended up with quite a lot of press, and subsequently raising an aggressive round of funding (investors can't say no to FOMO 🙃).
But it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Clubhouse since then, with some claiming they've created a literal echo chamber, rife with harassment. Like many social startups and new communities before them, they neglected to develop any form of community guidelines or enforcement before releasing their app to the world.
How do you moderate voice chat, though? Moderating written content and images is still a fully unsolved problem, with Facebook alone contracting 15,000+ moderators to help police content on their platforms.
Moderating live content is even harder. Twitch streamers rely on volunteer moderators to help manage their live chat while streaming, with larger streamers sometimes having hundreds of volunteers. This volunteer moderation is so critical to Twitch that they actively encourage and help streamers to build moderation teams with written content and native moderation tools.
Twitch says that "As a Broadcaster, choosing a good Moderation Team is one of the best things you can do for your Channel."
If tech giants like Facebook and Twitch can't properly solve moderation without throwing manpower at the problem, how could an app like Clubhouse ever hope to figure it out?
How will audio apps avoid the "he said, she said" situations that are already happening? At least with text content like Twitch chat, there's a record that can be relatively easily reviewed by a human if and when needed. Do you attempt to transcribe the audio in real time? Do you record everything in case it needs review later? Is there an expectation of privacy that would be ruined if these audio apps started recording all content?
There are a lot of unanswered questions for how moderation will play into audio communities, and as apps like Clubhouse, Chalk and Spaces continue to gain popularity, they'll have to face the moderation challenges head on.
How would you build moderation into an audio community? Reply and let us know your thoughts!
We've got a number of great AMA guests in the Community Chat Slack in the next few weeks, including Shana Sumers, Tara Hunt, Rosie Sherry, and Alex Angel!
Community managers are necessary and valuable
Relationships over numbers!
Community health =/= number of members
Got any new community tools?
A handful of recommended readings from the past week.
Why We Need Coworking Communities (3 min read)
Create a Community Strategic Plan for the Whole Team (4 min read)
A handful of open community roles from our community!
Head of Experience @ On Deck
Community Manager @ SPI Media