While all competitors are going towards voice chats, the first voice chat app is going towards instant messaging.
Giuseppe Croce Journalist
Peppe Croce, journalist since 2008, covers electronic devices and new technologies applied to the automotive world. He joined Libero Tecnologia in 2018.
There is a surprise waiting for Clubhouse users. It's called Backchannel and it's a messaging system that allows members to send text communications, bypassing the voice conversation that dominates the entire platform and tracing, in fact, the private messages already present on most social.
Born as a social network completely dedicated to the audio format, with virtual rooms dedicated to the most disparate topics, Clubhouse extends the range of functionality with a much anticipated detail. Backchannel was announced a few hours ago through a post on the official blog, in which there is already talk of an updated version coming in the near future. The feature can be used by everyone, by the organizers during the course of the scheduled meetings with the public or by the participants themselves to exchange ideas and opinions; or, in an impromptu way, to get in touch with friends and acquaintances just like the other platforms.
Backchannel by Clubhouse, how it works
To access Backchannel just tap on the airplane icon in the upper right corner of the application interface. Alternatively, you can swipe to the left to reach the screen and start chatting with other users.
To physically start a communication with a specific user, just tap on the pen and paper icon in the upper left corner and search by username. If you already have the profile of interest, you can select the same icon next to the "Follow" button.
The chat can take place either between two individuals or in groups of up to 15 members. Adding participants is at the moderator's discretion, as is removing them, although members can, of course, leave the conversation at any time. In the event that a blocked person is present, the user is notified promptly so they can decide whether to stay in the message exchange or leave it.
Currently, Clubhouse's choice provides the opportunity to send and receive communication between all members. However, the contacts of those you don't follow are stored in a different box, that of requests. From the settings you can block this possibility, limiting contact attempts to those belonging to the "Follow" circle.
Backchannel of Clubhouse, what is missing?
There are still some features missing among those proposed by Clubhouse, on which the development team has already started working. For now, it's impossible to delete chats; to this, then, we add the absence of support for sending images or videos through Backchannel conversations (but not links, which can be freely exchanged) and the lack of emoji reaction to messages.
At the moment, therefore, Clubhouse Backchannel cannot be considered a real alternative to WhatsApp.
As anticipated in the blog, the platform is already struggling with the first update, so much could change already in the coming weeks. We just have to follow and wait for the new evolutions that will be pulled out of the app's hat.