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How to use TwitterSpaces: The Ultimate Guide
[Last Update 4/2]
I've been having fun with Twitter's newest feature: TwitterSpaces. After participating in a couple of sessions hosted by others, Twitter gave me beta access and I now enjoy being a host.
Have you tried them yet? They are great fun! To help you get started, I wrote a quick overview of what you need to know.
@TwitterSpaces only works on phones, not on tablets or desktops. . All you need is a Twitter account. It was first released for iPhone only, and Android users have been able to participate since March - although for them it's still a bit buggy. (4/2 update: Twitter is working on a web version)
Because it's new, I host TwitterSpaces at random intervals during the week. So check my timeline if you want to explore and join to have a chat.
See you in Space, Anita
PS: I added some tips for hosts to the end of this Guide
How to join a Space
If someone you follow is currently hosting a TwitterSpace, you'll see that in Fleets. You will also see the Space when someone you follow has joined that space. Click on the purple circles to join.
What if no one you follow is hosting? Most beta-users add a purple dot to their twitter handle so you can easily find them and check their timeline for an invite. Here's a List of beta testers.
Search for twitter.com/i/spaces then check Latest to find live Spaces
You can also search using the hashtag #TwitterSpaces, then scroll down Latest to find live Spaces - you'll see a square purple image with the picture of the host and the topic of conversation. Click anywhere on the purple square to join.
The host determines how you can join: Listener or Speaker. (Scroll to the end for an overview of invite options.) Most hosts let you join as Listener. I recommend you first join a couple of times in listening mode to figure out how it works.
Sometimes hosts ask you how you want to join. Select your role, then click on Join this Space and you're in. It's that simple.
How to participate in the Space
Once you're in, you'll see who else is in the Space, and what role they have. The host is always shown as the first user. You'll see a little audio wave that indicates who is speaking.
How do you know what people are talking about? Look at the top. Right below "Your space" is a grey text line where the host leaves a description. They can also share tweets there.
How many people can speak in a Space? The maximum number of Speaker is 10 (plus Host). I hosted one with 10 people where everyone was invited to speak. I've participated in Spaces with 100+ people and dedicated speakers only. So it depends on the Host, but my experience is that hosts are gracious about letting people who raise their hand speak. Be gracious in return and share something on the topic.
You can see the twitter handle of every participant. If there are many participants, you might have to scroll down. Click on their icon to pull up their Twitter profile and follow them. While they are speaking, you can react with emojis:
It's a way to applaud a Speaker personally for what they just shared. Note that everyone in the Space will see your emoji.
When you are done with a session, press the red Leave in the right top. As long as the session continues, you can always rejoin.
Once the Host ends the session it is gone. There is no link to listen to it afterwards. I read that the audio is stored for 30 days, in case someone reports it. If there are no complaints, it's deleted.
You can tweet while listening - click on the top left arrow to turn the Space into a bar at the bottom of the Twitter App. Click on the bar when you are done, and the Space rolls up again.
Speakers can push tweets to the top of the space. Select an existing Tweet, press Share and then select the first option, which is the Space you're in. It will appear like this:
Fixed issue: people who join your space after you pushed the tweet will now be able to see these. There are still some issues with Android users not being able to see tweets, but it's inconsistent.
At the bottom of the screen is a bar with several options. Once you feel comfortable, you can press Request to become a speaker. When the Host changes your status, you'll then see an option to mute yourself. Even when you are a Speaker, it's good practice to mute yourself when someone else takes the mic. Note that the Host can withdraw speaking permission at any time.
You have 3 menu options. The ... option gives you access to enable captions and adjust settings. Kudos to Twitter for being inclusive: you can follow the spoken word in near real-time. Although it's not perfect, whenever I turned captions on it was pretty accurate. You can also enable the captions option via Adjust Settings.
Click on the Heart+ menu to see a couple of emojis that you can use to applaud the action in the Space. This is a new feature, and choice is limited. If you long press on the hand emojis, you can adjust the color.
The last menu options allows you invite others, either via Tweet or DM.
When can you host a Space?
Press and hold Compose to find out. Twitter doesn't send you an announcement, so if you currently don't have it, keep checking. Once you see the TwitterSpaces icon, you're in and you can start hosting immediately! It's currently in beta, so expect a rollout over the next months or so.
Some other tips
So far, my experience with TwitterSpaces has been good. Even though it's in beta. I have not had any glitches or been thrown out. Android users seem to have more issues - their interface differs from iPhone. We spent a session exchanging screen shots to fix the Android experience for a participant.
When a Host promotes an Android Listener to Speaker, they are often thrown out of the Space. Once the rejoin, they come in as Speaker. A fix should be released shortly. Sometimes when an Android Listener is promoted to Speaker, their avatar disappears - but you continue hear them and they remain in the space.
I hosted a few sessions with people from all over the world: India, Europe, the US and the sound was perfect. I heard from several participants that the audio quality on Twitter is better than Clubhouse.
You can allow everyone to be a speaker in your Space, but I would not recommend it. I've had to block a user because they didn't adhere to the guidelines. If everyone can speak, they can easily jump back in and continue. As a host, you'll need to think through what you will allow. It's much easier when you control who speaks.
I have started sessions without prior announcement, to see who would show up. I've also hosted some sessions where I invited speakers to talk about a topic. Both worked fine. I had more guests on the planned sessions where I invited a few people, but that could also be a timing issue. So far, afternoon and early evening GMT have been popular. In Europe, morning sessions don't seem to attract an audience.
Make sure your phone is fully charged when hosting a session. On an iPhone SE2, the battery went from 100% to 70% when I hosted a 1 hour session. Battery usage when joining a session is much lower, about 10% for an hour.
Most of all - have fun! Twitter is rolling out some great features for creators, and in combination with Revue for newsletters and Communities, I see a lot of potential. Hope you do too.
PS: Here's a link to Twitter's own TwitterSpaces explanation.
Tips for Hosts
First, put your phone on Do Not Disturb so a phone call doesn't interrupt your hosting duties. If you get a call, your Space will be interrupted.
When you start a Space,Type the conversation topic you write into Name your space will show up in the invitation. Click Start your space and you're live!
The default setting when you open a Space is Only people you invite to speak. You don't have to invite people, you can just start the Space and promote people to Speaker when they join. In this way you have full control over Speakers.
During a session, you can change the default through the (...) menu, then choose Adjust Settings. The next time you open a Space it will refer to the default setting.
Your followers will see in Fleets that you have started a Space.When someone joins, their followers will see it in their Fleets. And so on, so it can quickly snowball and include a lot of non-followers. People might request to speak, while you don't know who they are. Be ready to mute someone if they derail the conversation.
A word of caution about invites: I unintentionally opened a Space for Everyone, and within 1 minute it was flooded with trolls who were speaking to each other in a language I did not understand. Since there is no Mute All button (yet), the only option was to end the Space. Stick with the default to keep yourself and your audience safe.
The People menu option gives you access to the list of Speakers and Listeners and allows you to manage your audience. Alternatively, when someone requests to be a Speaker, you can click on their avatar to promote them or demote them back to Listener.
The TwitterSpaces team is working on a co-hosting feature, which will be very useful. Until then, the Host is in charge of the Space. Update: I've seen some posts suggesting co-hosting will be a paid feature.
Kevin Healey hosted a space where we discussed Spaces etiquette. Here are our suggestions:
When hosting give others the opportunity speak
Don’t let people overrun the conversation and give set times to other speakers
Don’t invite someone to speak if you don’t have enough time left to cover their speech / topics
Try to avoid having speakers cutting across each other, as it distracts the flow
Try and have specific topics so it’s engaging
When you change the status of a participant, let them know before you do.
Apologize to late guests if you need to end the space, give thanks to listeners and speakers, and give closing remarks
Summarize the conversation a few times, so new joiners feel included.
When you're a speaker, be mindful of time, and change your status back to Listener to give others a chance to speak.
Have something to add? DM me.