Focusing on audio, rather than text, photos or videos, is a differentiator and part of the appeal.
Last summer, the Clubhouse social media app had a few thousand users, mostly tech workers and Silicon Valley venture capitalists who wanted to make connections with each other during the pandemic. Today, it has millions of users, is worth close to $ 1 billion, and causes a lot of fuss. Recently, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Clubhouse, causing such a stir that the platform nearly collapsed.
However, it is still a small club, so to speak, especially when compared to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you’ve heard of it, and want to know why there is so much fuss, we present you with this basic manual.
A social media app that allows people to gather in audio chat rooms to discuss various topics, such as sports, wellness, art, or why bitcoin is approaching $ 87,000 in value. The rooms are usually divided into two groups: those who speak and those who listen (participants can see a list of all the people who are in a conversation, and sometimes there are thousands). Unlike Twitter, Clubhouse is a closed hierarchical platform: a moderator supervises the conversations and has the ability to put someone in or kick the unruly ones. In addition to the topics in which the “clubs” are arranged, two or more users can join together to create their own chat room.
Last spring, two industry veterans, Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, launched the app. Their prototype podcast app was too much like a broadcast show, so they added the feature that allows users to join the conversation. Clubhouse has been compared in various ways to an audience-engaged podcast, to AOL’s 2021 version of Instant Messenger, and to an old shared phone line.
Focusing on audio, rather than text, photos or videos, is a differentiator and part of the appeal. Delia Cai of the Deez Links newsletter wrote of her experience on the app: “It felt spontaneous with little commitment, and thankfully it didn’t involve turning on any cameras.”
Q: Who participates?
A: As the name suggests, Clubhouse is all about exclusivity – you must be invited by an existing user. Among the club’s early members were Silicon Valley venture capitalists (Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, some of the early investors in the app), savvy web service entrepreneurs (Mark Cuban, Tim Ferriss), a sprinkle of artists, and cultural influencers. (Tiffany Haddish, Drake, Virgil Abloh) and people who are occasionally considered famous (Vanilla Ice, Roger Stone).
Clubhouse has received criticism for having the vibe of a male-dominated, male complicity vibe (though there are quite a few women on the platform as well). Its open exchange of information has also made it popular with users in countries with repressive governments. This month, China blocked Clubhouse. Right now, the app, which is still in beta, gives the strange (and probably fleeting) feeling of being a small world. It’s still a surprise when you bump into someone you know or when Senator Tim Kaine shows up in a chat room, for example.
What happens in it?
A: Clubhouse can sometimes reflect Silicon Valley’s relentless attention to personal optimization. Networking, training with weights, retiring early, convincing investors and bitcoin, bitcoin, bitcoin … the culture of pressure is real and present. However, there is also a huge theater stage with staged plays, as well as a scene of people looking for dates. Additionally, conversations are often free-form, rambling, and impromptu. This rough quality is part of the charm.
On a recent weekday evening, comedian Alexis Gay hosted a talk show called “Housin’ Around ”; there was an event to promote ideas from startups to investors; a conversation was titled “The formation of creative spaces for black people in the world of fashion”; and a clubhouse karaoke was held, among other conversations. Daily and weekly shows have begun to emerge from an unstructured format, such as “The Cotton Club,” a late-night chill-out area hosted by musician Bomani X, and “Good Time,” a daily recap of tech news starting at 10:00 pm Pacific Time. Going from room to room is easy and a good part of the fun.
Q: How can I receive an invitation?
A: Currently Clubhouse is only available on iOS. In turn, each of the invited people receives invitations to give away (users who are active on the platform are granted more invitations). So, find a friend or colleague who is already on the app. If that doesn’t work for you, maybe you can buy your ticket: invitations range from $ 30 to $ 20,000 on eBay (but be aware that Clubhouse does not have some of the security filters of other platforms). Or you can wait: The Clubhouse website hints that the app will open up to a larger audience, or the whole world, at some point.