• Wednesday, November 29, 2023
businessday logo


How Twitter is fast changing conversations in Nigerian media spaces

How Twitter is fast changing conversations in Nigerian media spaces

Long before now, conversations were reserved for media outlets, with the medium used determined by the significance of the conversation to be had.

Since a European missionary from Presbyterian Church, Reverend Henry Townsend, established a printing press in 1854, the world has witnessed the rise of a myriad of print media companies.

Change, they say, is inevitable. Now, there are newer technologies that allow for news to be spread electronically. You don’t have to queue to get a copy of the dailies, it can easily be accessed on your mobile phone.

The first Nigerian newspaper to go online was the defunct Post Express, which began its internet edition in 1997. Guardian, Punch, and The Comet (now defunct) joined the Post Express on the internet in 1999.

Riding on the move, media outlets such as Sahara Reporters, Premium Times, TheCable are now regarded as the leaders of the digital age, heralding the change.

Sahara Reporters changed the narrative in the Nigeria media landscape by becoming the first all-digital newspaper outlet in the country, launched in 2006. Premium Times closely following in 2011. TheCable is an independent online newspaper in Nigeria launched on April 29, 2014.

Then comes Twitter spaces

These ‘Digital Print Media” are stopping at nothing to explore all available mediums to push their cause.

Premium Times held her first twitter space event on January 31, 2022. The Space is centred around discussing topical issues around Investigations, social issues, foreign issues, health, governance, education, security, politics and trends.

HumAngle Twitter Spaces initiate and encourage in-depth, important conversations around gender, insecurity, development, humanitarian problems, and how these and other variables interact with each other to affect people in under-reported ways. They try to hear directly from victims, people directly affected by conflict, while also relying on experts to provide context. The conversations are mostly solutions-oriented.

Several more of these conversations are held by different media houses regularly on this medium—Twitter Spaces.

This goes on to show how the dynamics of the media space is fast changing. In no distant time would twitter space conversations be the norm even for political debates.

Read also: Lifting the ban on Twitter will boost economic growth

How Twitter Space is coming in handy for political stakeholders ahead of 2023

The normal proceedings for election involve candidates of each party slugging it out on a national TV, answering heated questions and informing the general public of their intentions when voted in office. Although elections are not won on Twitter, Twitter spaces seem like a debatable space to hold National debates. The only con to this method might be inaccessibility by folks who aren’t online.

Spaces like Savvy Rinu’s and Aisha Yesuff’s are teeming platforms that seem to delve into political issues. With more of these spaces in play, Twitter will likely witness a number of presidential debates.

Twitter Spaces vs Clubhouse

Twitter Space is a feature on Twitter that allows users to join virtual rooms where they can engage in real-time, audio conversations with others.

Twitter Space was first introduced in November 2020 as an attempt to oust Clubhouse’s success with its own version audio-centric chat rooms. But this decision was revised because the determinant in hosting a Twitter space was solely due to the number of followers a user had, which had to be in the range of 600 or more.

Since Twitter relaunched Spaces, it has been a tool for major conversation in the Nigerian clime. Conversations ranging across different topical issues are discussed from time to time on the audio-centric chatroom.


Clubhouse is a social studio app available on both iOS and Android where users can communicate in audio chat rooms. Clubhouse was released in March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clubhouse was unique for being the first of its kind to have voice messaging as a prominent feature as opposed to the usual text image, which other social messaging platforms towed.

The app became a frenzy when its venture capital went from $10 million to $100 million in less than a year. The app also grew from over 3.5 million global downloads to 8.1 million from February 1 to February 16, 2021. This rise was not thanks to high-profile influencers such as Elon Musk, Kanye West, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who adopted the app for conversations.

Clubhouse has recorded a total number of 28million total downloads since its release. While downloads of the app plummeted after it peaked in June 2021, users are beginning to catch the frenzy again. This might just be an indication that Clubhouse is here to stay.

Recall that Clubhouse downloads peaked during June 2021 of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, downloads of the chat app dipped when lockdowns were lifted and new competitions like Twitter Spaces emerged.

According to Sensor Tower, at the beginning of the year 2021, Clubhouse was downloaded 9.6 million times.

In March , Clubhouse experienced a recession as downloads dipped to about 2.7 million, and in April Clubhouse recorded less than a million downloads.

At this same time, Twitter was aggressively promoting Spaces. After the emergence of Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse fought back by dropping its requirement that users receive an invitation to join the app while also building a version of the app for Android users. A trick that indeed seemed to have worked for a while as downloads of the chat app increased.

But by the time this was done, more users and creators seemed to have joined the Twitter Spaces bandwagon because it was easy for creators who already had a large Twitter following to hold a Twitter space and find listeners there rather than to build followership from the scratch on the Clubhouse platform.

Sources: cnbc, AppAnnie

Omoniyi, a tech and lifestyle writer, writes from Lagos