Clubhouse’s leaked text messaging feature has finally officially arrived. Called Backchannel, the new messaging system allows users to talk to each other via the written word, just like in practically every other social media app that came before it. Tech is a circle.
The audio-based app announced its new feature in a blog post on Wednesday. Backchannel allows users to talk to each other through text outside Clubhouse’s audio rooms, as well as during them.
To start a Backchannel chat, simply tap the paper airplane icon on the bottom right of the app. From there, tap the pen and paper icon on the top right corner to search for the person you want to chat with. Alternatively, the icon also appears to the left of the follow button on users’ profiles. You can also swipe left in a Clubhouse room to access the Backchannel.
While the app’s big selling point is that conversations are audible rather than written, having the ability to text other users will certainly make organising rooms a bit easier. Users can message their co-hosts to plan what to talk about next, as well as receive questions from the audience. Meanwhile, listeners can discuss the conversation with each other while it’s still happening, and without interrupting the hosts.
Backchannel’s supports both one on one conversations as well as bigger group chats of up to 15 members. Not just anybody can jump into a chat though — only the moderator can add or remove people (though you can voluntarily remove yourself at any time). You’ll also be warned if you’re added to a group that includes someone you’ve blocked, so you can promptly exit.
Anyone can message you by default, though messages from people you don’t follow are placed under a separate Requests tab. Fortunately you can change your settings so you only receive messages from the people you follow. You can also report chats as well as specific messages.
Backchannel is still missing a few features. It currently doesn’t support sending photos or videos, there are no message reactions, and you can’t start an audio Clubhouse room directly from Backchannel. You also can’t delete Backchannel chats, though the app plans to add this ability in the future.
Even so, Backchannel’s text message will certainly make coordinating a Clubhouse room a little bit easier — for all who are actually still using the app.