Does Clubhouse, the new social media app fire you up or leave you cold?
Clubhouse, the new social media app is an audio-based social media app that everyone is getting super excited about. The company blurb says it’s “a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.”
Claiming to be in Beta mode, you can join by invitation only. This has fuelled a semi-hysterical, FOMO hype around exclusivity. You also need to own an iPhone to be able to access it. Many people think that Clubhouse is going to transform social media marketing as we know it and become the go-to platform for digital connection. There is already a veritable deluge of “experts” ready to share with us their newly acquired knowledge on how to tap into this platform.
Investors obviously believe in it, because it already has $1Billion investment interest!
How to Join Clubhouse App
Currently, there are only two ways you can get onto the platform and they both require close relationships with people already on the app:
- By personal invitation: When someone joins Clubhouse, they’re automatically granted invitations – I had five and then was given an additional two for some reason. You need their phone number so the methodology assumes you will be inviting your closest connections.
- Reserve your user name: This is how I got on. I always reserve my user name on any new platform. I may not want to join immediately or even ever, but it gives me the opportunity to change my mind. You do this when you download the app from the App Store. Your contacts on Clubhouse may receive a notification letting them know that you’ve reserved your username and have downloaded the app. When this happens, they get the option to wave you through even if they don’t have an official invitation to send (and it doesn’t use one of their invitations if they haven’t already used it yet).
How it works
Basically, once you have downloaded the app, and created a profile, you can jump in and out of different chats, on different subjects, in something like a live podcast or radio phone-in show. You can choose to participate or not.
Here is my profile. I confess I have put limited thought into it and I see that there are already how-to posts to create a “proper” profile. I may change it eventually and make it more professional! But I may not!
There is a range of podcast-style and panel conversations, as well as networking opportunities with locked and private options available, so you can talk to your immediate friends or network contacts. None of the conversations are recorded or saved.
You have an opportunity to go on “stage” and do this by raising your hand so a moderator (“mod”) will select you. In the large groups, it’s a little bit like trying to get picked for a team on the school playground. One woman mentioned she had been waiting for an hour to be called to speak.
The platform potential
- The ability to connect and engage with professionals outside of your industry or niche. That for me has potential. I have already connected with people I didn’t know.
- Clubhouse is touted as being about the creation of spontaneous rooms with real-time conversation rather than produced content. I am not so sure about that one. Some of what I heard seemed pretty prepped and scripted to me. I have seen high levels of self-promotion.
- The platform shifts the focus to an audio-only format which I like, but it does mean that participants can’t interact with each other via text chat. The general consensus seems to be that will not change.
- There is a possibility to have private rooms for smaller interaction which could be interesting for side-bar type networking – but why do that rather than Zoom for example. I’ve never used the function so will keep an open mind.
- Someone has already set up rooms called “Scams unlocked” and “Clubhouse Millionaires: Helpers or Bullies” so there is clearly a perception that there is potential for abuse.
- So far I prefer the smaller rooms which offer more open discussion.
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I have spoken a few times and listened a lot, in a wide range of groups. I have observed numbers of wealthy people talking about making money and “influencers” talking about reach and how many followers they have.
Here’s what I’ve noticed.
1. It’s time-consuming: Because the platform lacks the possibility for participants to interact even by text like other meet-ups or podcasts, there is a sense of hanging around. I combined it with walking on one occasion which was a good way to listen. It’s maybe something you can have on in the background while you are doing something else.
2. Rooms need good moderators: Rooms in my view are only as good as the moderator. They need clear guidelines and the moderator has to make sure they are enforced. In larger groups people are so glad of their shot on the stage, they want to keep adding to their one question. Some moderators allow that. They also need to make sure that other moderators don’t take over. People do like to share, especially about themselves.
3. The platform favours the extrovert: The platform certainly seems to suit the more outgoing personality. Those who are articulate, structured, and skilled communicators, with clear diction and easily understandable accents, will be winners. You can tell the moderators who have had some kind of online speaking training as they are clear, concise, and engaging. I have heard quite long stretches of dull rambling.
4. Large groups: Moderators and room creators have a reason for being there. It’s to raise their visibility. Participants are encouraged to grow the group by inviting others, which extends their reach. However, that makes it harder for the average punter to join the stage to speak. Some of the large groups I have flitted in and out of are like listening to bad radio. Others, because I entered at the right moment have been of real interest. There is actually a group called “Screw the big groups on Clubhouse”
Join or not?
It seems indeed that Clubhouse the new social media app, will be the next big thing. There is no doubt that the owners of Clubhouse will want to monetise their platform at some time in the future. Typically, as per all the other social media platforms, we the user will become the product, along with our lovely, valuable data. Only you know how you will use it or if you do at all. I would suggest testing it while it is still free and while everyone is new.
I am still very much in beta mode myself.
I have 5 unused invitations so if anyone would like one get in touch.
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