Women’s social networking mobile app, Peanut, is the latest tech company today to incorporate audio into its product following the success of Clubhouse. Peanut, which started with an emphasis on motherhood, has expanded over the years to support women at all stages of life, including pregnancy, marriage, and even menopause. The voice chat feature known as “Pods” sees a way in their app for women to make better connections in a more supportive and secure environment than is possible on other platforms.
The pandemic, of course, has likely sparked interest in audio-based social networking, as people stuck at home have found that it helped bridge the void that once existed in personal networking and social events. Clubhouse, the leading provider of voice chat social networks, has now turned its model into a function that companies like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Discord and others can only take on.
Like many of the clubhouse clones to date, Peanut’s Pods provide the basics, including a muted audience of listeners who virtually raise their hands to speak, emoji reactions, and hosts who can moderate the conversations and invite them to speak, among other things. The company is currently conducting its own internal moderation of the audio pods to ensure that the conversations do not violate company terms. Over time, scaling is planned to include more moderators. (The company pays more than two dozen moderators to manage the rest of its app, but that team hasn’t been trained in audio, Peanut notes.)
While there are similarities to Clubhouse in its design, Peanut believes the audio experience will be different from the rest of the package when these conversations take place – on a network designed for women who are focused on security and trust. It’s also a network where the hunt for clout isn’t the reason people participate.
Traditional social networks are often based on how many likes you have, how many followers you have, or whether you are verified with a blue check, explains Michelle Kennedy, CEO of Peanut.
“It’s based on status and popularity,” she says. “What we’ve only seen at Peanut so far is this ‘care economy,’ where women really support each other. It really was never about “I have X followers”. We don’t even have that concept. It was always about: “I need support; I have this question; I am lonely or looking for a friend. ‘or whatever it is, ”adds Kennedy.
In Peanut Pods, the company will continue to enforce the safety standards that make women feel comfortable on social networks. This focus in particular could attract some of the women, and especially women of skin color, who have been harassed on other voice-based networking platforms.
“The only thing I would say is that we are a community and we have standards,” notes Kennedy. “When you have standards and let everyone know what those standards are, that’s very clear. You are allowed to give an opinion, but what you are not allowed to do is listed here. Here are the things we expect of you as users and we will reward you for doing this and if you don’t we are. I’ll ask you to go, ”she says.
Free speech isn’t what Peanut is about, she adds.
“We have standards and we ask you to adhere to them,” says Kennedy.
Over time, Peanut intends to use the audio feature to connect women with people who have specific expertise, such as lactation consultants for new mothers or fertility doctors. However, these are not positioned as lectures in which the audience is held hostage while a speaker drones on and on. In fact, Peanuts Design dispenses with Clubhouse’s “stage” concept in order to give everyone the same status – whether they speak or not.
In the app, users can find interesting chats based on the topics they are already following – and most importantly, avoid being shown other topics by muting them.
The pods feature will be available on the Peanut app starting today and will reach over 2 million users of the company. It will be free to use like all of Peanut, although the company plans to launch a freemium model with some paid products at some point.