Social networking app for women, Peanut, adds live audio rooms – TechCrunch

Peanut’s mobile social networking app has become the latest tech company to incorporate audio into its product following the success of Clubhouse. Peanuts, which began with a focus on motherhood, has expanded over the years to support women throughout all stages of life, including pregnancy, marriage, and even menopause. She sees her voice chat feature, which she calls “Pods,” as a way for women to make better communications in a more supportive and secure environment than other platforms may provide.

It’s possible that the pandemic, of course, has sparked some interest in voice-based social networking, as people stuck at home have found that it has helped bridge the gap that personal communication and social events once created. However, since then the leading social networking voice chat company Clubhouse has seen its model transform into what is now just a feature for companies like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Discord and others to adopt.

Like many Clubhouse versions to date, Peanut’s Pods offer the basics, including a silent audience of listeners who almost “raise their hands” to speak, emoji reactions, and hosts who can coordinate conversations and invite people to speak, among other things. The company, for the time being, is doing its own internal moderation of the audio pods, to ensure the conversations don’t violate the company’s terms. In time, he plans to expand to other brokers. (The company pays more than two dozen intermediaries to help it run the rest of its apps, but the team hasn’t yet been trained on audio, only a few days ago. They’ve had the training now, we understand.)

Although it has similarities to the Clubhouse in its design, what Peanut believes will distinguish her audio experience from the rest of the package is where these conversations take place – on a network designed for women that has been designed with safety and trust in mind. It’s also a network where the chase for influence is not the reason people get involved.

Traditional social networks are often based on the number of likes you have, the number of followers you have, or if they are validated with a blue check, explains Michelle Kennedy, CEO of the Peanut Foundation.

“It kind of depends on prestige and popularity,” she says. “What we saw on Peanut is this ‘care economy,’ where women really support each other. It was never about, ‘I have X number of followers.’ We don’t even have that concept. It was always about: ‘I need support; I have this question. I am single or looking for a friend. Or whatever it could be,” Kennedy adds.

At Peanut Pods, the company says it will continue to enforce safety standards that make women feel comfortable interacting with social networks. This focus could in particular attract some women, especially women of color, who have been targeted for harassment on other audio networking platforms.

“The only thing I would say is that we are a society, and we have standards,” Kennedy notes. “When you have standards and you let everyone know what those standards are, it’s very clear. You’re allowed to have an opinion but what you’re not allowed to do is listed here…here are the things we expect of you as a user and we’ll reward you if you do and if you don’t then we’ll ask you Leave,” she says.

She adds that freedom of expression is not what Peanut is all about.

“We have standards and we ask that you stick to them,” Kennedy says.

Over time, Peanut envisions using the audio feature to help connect women with people with specific expertise, such as lactation consultants for new mothers or fertility doctors, for example. But these lectures will not be positioned as lectures where listeners are held hostage while the speaker operates drones. In fact, Peanut’s design eliminates the concept of “stage” from the Clubhouse to give everyone equal standing – whether they are speaking or not.

In the app, users will be able to find interesting conversations based on the topics they are already following – and most importantly, they can avoid other topics from appearing by muting them.

The Pods feature is rolling out to the Peanut app starting today, and will now reach more than two million users in the company. Like all Peanut products, it will be free to use, although the company plans to eventually launch a freemium model with some paid products in the future.

Update, 4/27/21 3:40PM ET: Article has been updated to note that moderators have now received Pods training.

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