Copying and then developing is what Facebook usually does to confront most of the newly trendy competition apps. Recently, Facebook launched its own “audio chat room-style” social application, Hotline.
For some reason this time, Facebook didn’t launch the app officially, instead, the announcement was quietly shared among the registered users on the waiting list.
So far, Hotline is still a web-based app and we don’t know whether there will be a mobile version later. Now the app is open to all users and the speed-up registration is through a Twitter account.
Hotline App has a user interface similar to Clubhouse. The host stays on the top of the list of participants in the chat room, reflecting a typical chat room hierarchy with a leading speaker/organizer and many following listeners.
In spite of the similarity, Hotline has a major difference from the audio-only social network, Clubhouse. Hotline presents the host’s video image in speaking, although the video image is limited to a small space of a circle.
The listeners are only allowed to use text or audio to ask questions at this phase. No information is unveiled if it’s designed on purpose this way to keep a clean order of the chat room. From the experience we learned from video meetings, we know the live video boxes with all participants showing on the same screen do cause some distractions and messiness.
During the pandemic, working remotely means also consulting remotely and giving public speeches remotely. Super-popular video meeting platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet have already shown their insufficiency while facing the increasing demand for online lectures and Q&A sessions.
Hotline stands on the ground right between social apps and video meeting apps. It’s more casual than a meeting, but it’s more formal than social chat.
Facebook keeps highlighting Hotline as a Q&A application to serve the professionals in the areas such as finance and real estate, which often have the need to bring in new customers by holding consulting sessions and seminars.
“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told technology news media, Techcrunch.com.