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Clubhouse ventures beyond audio with Backchannel, a new messaging feature

·2-min read

We knew DMs were on the way to Clubhouse and today the new feature landed, spicing up the audio-only app with a text-based chat feature. Clubhouse's new direct messaging system, called "Backchannel," gives users an oft-requested way to start conversations behind the scenes on the social audio app.

Backchannel offers both one-on-one messaging as well as group chat and generally adds quite a bit of utility into the voice-only social network. Speakers can organize in advance or coordinate live through messaging while running a room. They can also accept text-based questions, which some listeners are probably more comfortable with.

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Clubhouse users can send links but not images or videos through Backchannel for now, but it sounds like more new features are just around the corner. The messaging system also includes a message request area where communication from people you don't know lives until you approve it. So far, Clubhouse's DMs are focused on chatting with people you know or people you'd like to know. Without a roomwide text chat option, the main action will remain firmly centered in voice-based rooms.

The messaging system is live now across Clubhouse's iOS and Android apps. To start a DM — fine, a "Backchannel" — look for the little paper airplane icon on anybody's profile page or swipe right from the main menu to pull it up. One thing worth noting: It doesn't look like you can delete messages yet (though you can copy or report them!), so be sure you really mean whatever it is that you're backchanneling about.

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