In a bid to compete with Clubhouse and its rising popularity in the social media space, Facebook has finally launched its very own clone of the same, albeit with a bit of twist!
Today, the social media behemoth’s New Product Experimentation, aka NPE Team, launched ‘Hotline’ into public beta testing. The web-based app appears to be a mashup of the Clubhouse with Instagram live.
Hotline allows creators to speak to an audience who can then ask questions or reply via text or audio. However, unlike Clubhouse, the app is not strictly ‘audio-only’ and lets creators have the option of being able to turn on their cameras whilst conversing.
Now, when it comes to Hotline’s user interface, there’s going to be no surprises there. It will look extremely familiar to anyone who has ever used Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces or any other social audio-only app on a smartphone.
At the top (when viewed on a smartphone) or to the left side (when using it on desktop), you will notice there is a speaker section wherein the event host is featured in a round profile icon or live video stream. Below that (or to the side on the desktop) are the listeners of the event.
But that being said, there does exist some key differences between Hotline and Clubhouse.
For instance, Facebook’s app currently requires users to sign into it with Twitter and then verify their identity via SMS. The listeners’ section of Hotline is divided between those who are simply attending the event and those who are asking questions.
Also, at present, Hotline users can type in their questions and then join the host ‘on stage’ when it is their turn to interact. Guests are currently represented by their profile icon and, by default, are in audio-only mode when on stage.
Hotline users can use emojis to react to the event. It includes sending clapping hands, fire, heart, laughter, surprise and the thumbs-ups or like. In the initial testing phase, Facebook employees will be moderated the events actively and remove anyone who violates the company’s community standards, terms of service, data policy or the NPE Team’s supplemental terms.
And lastly, but most importantly, one of the most significant differences between Clubhouse and Hotline is that the events in the latter can be recorded.
Creators using Facebook’s Hotline app can easily take the recorded clips, chop them up in bite-size short-form content and upload them to other networks such as Youtube or Facebook or turn them into full-length podcasts as well.
All in all, it is well understood that, despite borrowing inspiration from Clubhouse, Facebook’s social conversation app has a different vibe altogether. It feels less of a casual hangout and more of a professional event because Hotline uses several unique elements such as emoji reactions, videos and text-based questions.
It now remains to be seen if, besides the core concept, Facebook’s Hotline can also replicate Clubhouse’s secret formula for viral growth. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.