Unless you are living under a rock, you must have heard about the new social tread around the corner – Clubhouse. The invite-only social platform is gaining traction among users and creatives. If you are wondering why everyone is suddenly pumped about Clubhouse then read along to find about the new kid around the block.
What Is Clubhouse?
Created by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth and backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Clubhouse is a platform where users can participate in different chat rooms on a wide range of topics. The conversations are audio-only, and when they finish, they disappear forever.
You can term the experience as Zoom for voice designed primarily for mobile devices. With no camera on, you don’t have to worry about eye contact, what you’re wearing, or where you are. You can talk on Clubhouse while you’re folding laundry, commuting, working on your couch in the basement, or going for a run.
Though the concept of a chat room might have you thinking you’ve time-traveled back to 2000, Clubhouse is shaping up to be the next big thing in social space.
Why Is Clubhouse so Popular?
Just like at a real social event, users can start off in the main room with many other people, and then break into smaller groups for side conversations. There is no requirement to speak.
A major thing that sets Clubhouse apart from social networks like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, is that once you join a room, you don’t need to be staring at your screen to participate. Theoretically, someone can be more fully engaged in what’s going on in front of them while still interacting in a discussion room on the app.
And because it’s available to only a small group of enthusiast users, the opportunity to connect with this exclusive network of tech giants, celebrities, and activists is one of its most alluring features. People are jumping at the chance to make personal and professional connections they may not otherwise have access to.
The nature of it working like a real-life, exclusive clubhouse is a major part of the app’s appeal. It will be interesting to see how the app holds on to that appeal when it goes public and open the door for millions of users.
Board the Clubhouse Train
As of now, the Clubhouse app is only available for iOS. The developers have confirmed that they are working on the Android app. But wait, even if you have an iPhone, you will need an invite from an existing user to start using Clubhouse.
If you haven’t already received an invite, you can request and reserve a user name using your phone number. Even if you have an invite, you’ll need a phone to verify your account. Once Clubhouse decides it’s ready for you, you’ll get a text to create your account. That could take weeks or months if it even happens for you at all. But hey, at least it’s free.
Just like any social platform, you can start building your profile from scratch or import data from existing social accounts such as Instagram or Twitter. You can search your contacts to find other existing Clubhouse members you might know. Clubhouse suggests big-name accounts for you to follow, from actors to activists to venture capitalists. Yes, I do follow Naval Ravikant.
Probably more important than following people is following clubs and topics. This is the fastest way to connect to conversations you’ll want to join. Clubhouse has a vast amount of topics to explore across different categories. Follow conversations about wellness, technology, relationships, and dozens of other rich veins for potential gossip, advice, and general discourse.
What About Security?
Clubhouse allows club organizers to set up specific rules and guidelines before letting others join the group. Community moderation tools let you report toxic users. Featured speakers can talk freely, but for audience members to add to the conversation they must first raise their virtual hand and wait for approval from the speakers and organizers, like standing in a Q&A line during a panel.
The practice prevents hundreds of people from talking to each other at the same time and making a mess. Sometimes, the organizers might ignore you and let you on mute for the entire conversation as well.
Besides, nothing is saved on the app. None of the conversations are recorded, and transcripts are not made available after the meetup. You can also now block users or report an incident if something particularly shady goes on. App developers have promised to add more security features before the app goes public.
What are you waiting for? Ask your friends for a Clubhouse invite or ask people on Twitter or Reddit to share one (I got mine from Twitter). Start attending meetings and share your experience using the app in the comments section below.