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Evolving Social Media Apps Like Clubhouse Emphasize Talking Over Texting

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Over the past year people have communicated online more than ever before.

A new generation of social media platforms are trading texting for talking, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported Thursday.

In a New Jersey apartment, three friends were speaking with artists around the world in a virtual room they created on the app Clubhouse.

"We have music playing. We have conversations similar to a podcast. We take questions and we just talk about each other's days," said Queena Bergen of New Brunswick.

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Clubhouse is one of the most popular apps in a new generation of audio-based platforms.

"You open the app and you'll see a bunch of rooms organized by topic," Wired senior writer Arielle Pardes said. "There is this sort of democratization of who gets to speak. So someone like Oprah Winfrey, who has been on Clubhouse, is in your ears and if you raise your hand to ask a question in a conversation like that, you're speaking directly to her," Pardes added.

"At any point in time there is an impactful conversation happening," Bergen said.

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Clubhouse is less than a year old, but already has 5 million users and is valued at more than $1 billion. It's still in beta, so you need an invitation to join. Invites are so coveted they're being auctioned on eBay for $40.

"People are so hungry for that feeling of being in the same room as a bunch of other people in a time when most people are just stuck at home," Pardes said.

After years of text-based social media apps like Twitter and Instagram, our phones have come full circle and talking is in again.

"We're starting to see more established social networks want a piece of that audio pie," Pardes said.

Twitter recently launched "Spaces," a similar voice-only feature, and apps like Twitch and Discord, which have mostly been used for communicating about video games, are evolving to attract new users, Bauman reported.

"You can find knitting clubs on Discord. You can find people talking about recaps of the latest TV show they like. It has sort of become a place for the general public to talk about whatever they want to talk about in real time," Pardes said.

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If this all sounds like gibberish to you, don't be discouraged. There is at least one growing app you've probably heard of -- Zoom.

"The social moment we're in right now is one where people are really treasuring their real friends and are finding ways for technology to bring them closer to those relationships," Pardes said.

"It makes you feel like you're not the only one and that's really important right now because when you're by yourself it feels like you're alone," Bergen said.

"It's just communication. We all need to stay in communication and that's key," another person said.

Social media evolves, but the desire to connect is human nature.

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