Let’s talk about Clubhouse

Let’s talk about Clubhouse

Here’s what we know about Clubhouse, the audio-only, invite-only social media app that’s causing a stir amongst the social media giants. There’s a good chance that you’ve heard of the new app on the market – Clubhouse. Although, the chances are that you have not been able to sign up for it yet. So let’s run through what we know about the exclusive app so far…

What is Clubhouse?

The app itself is an audio-only platform whereby people can host their own chat rooms, dip into conversations or simply listen to people talk (a bit like a live podcast). The owners describe it as: “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.”

In early 2020 the Clubhouse app was being built and, in its infancy, was shared with a few friends of the developers to gather feedback in order to look at the next stages of its development.

In July of 2020 Clubhouse released a blog post with an update on the development and described the app as such: “Clubhouse is voice-only, and we think voice is a very special medium. With no camera on, you don’t have to worry about eye contact, what you’re wearing, or where you are.”

“When you open the app, you can see ‘rooms’ full of people talking — all open so you can hop in and out, exploring different conversations. You enter each room as an audience member, but if you want to talk, you just raise your hand, and the speakers can choose to invite you up.” Clubhouse explains on its site. 

Who is Clubhouse intended for?

Whilst the app is still in beta it is still very much by invitation only you are able to sign up which allows you to at least reserve your username for when the app opens it’s doors to a wider audience. For the time being, many celebrities and public figures are using the platform such as Oprah, Kevin Hart, Drake, Chris Rock, and Ashton Kutcher. This has allowed people to participate in live, unfiltered conversations with famous and powerful people, which seems to be its unique selling point at this moment in time. 

There are also some brands and company owners using the Clubhouse app to successfully network. Using LinkedIn as a platform to market their “chat rooms” they are then inviting their connections to join the conversation. Once in a room, you can be invited to talk by the host which enables you to ask questions to the host and engage the audience within the virtual room.

What do people think of it so far?

Many people have been raving about Clubhouse, describing it as “Rich, intimate, conversations with fascinating people.” Clubhouse has created a long thread of people praising the app for bringing people together and creating new and fascinating narratives. For businesses and brands, it has been a vital tool for sharing information and networking in both B2B and B2C contexts. For creatives, it has been utilised in many ways including talent shows, singles chats, trivia games and so much more. Perhaps one of the most useful things to come out of this community is the ability to just talk to people, one-on-one. We have spent the best part of a year in lockdown, and for millions of people, this app has given us a way to meet new people and combat loneliness on a whole new level. 

However, people have been spotted using the app to spread misinformation and scams, so you must remain vigilant and vet who you are listening to, making sure they are a credible source of information. Alongside this, there has been a surge in “clout chasers”. There are some people who are spending an inordinate amount of time growing their followers which in turn makes it look like they have some authority on the app, which only garners them more followers. This can be used to exacerbate our previous point on the spread of misinformation. 

Will Clubhouse rise to the forefront of social?

In April 2020 Clubhouse had 1500 beta testers. A month later it had 3500 users. By December 2020 it had a staggering 600K+ users which were all invite-only. As it stands, the platform has in excess of 2 million active users! Due to the exclusivity, it has gained huge momentum in less than a year, with the user count growing constantly.  You have to ask yourself, does the app have any competition? Will it become too big and diluted that it loses it’s USP? 

There are other audio-centric apps out there such as Audlist, HereMeOut, Listen, Riffr and Stereo. While each app offers something different none have quite hit the ground running like Clubhouse. 

Towards the end of 2020, Twitter launched its own competition to Clubhouse in the form of “Spaces”. Twitter’s audio Spaces will enable users to create an audio-only meeting, which their connections can then join, either to listen in or to actively participate. The audio meet-ups will be highlighted via a purple icon on the creators’ Fleets bubble, showing when an audio discussion is in progress, and who’s taking part.

In typical Facebook style, it has been reported that they are also creating their Clubhouse clone to compete with the rising giant. 

As explained by The New York Times:

“Facebook executives have ordered employees to create a similar product [to Clubhouse], said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. The product is in its earliest stages of development, they said.”

Facebook has a long-running habit of replication, copying basically every rising social app as it looks to quash any competition, and hopefully stop users from moving to other platforms.

Roundup

It seems that Clubhouse has successfully created a FOMO buzz around the app thanks to famous users such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg recently appearing in the Clubhouse, and the added exclusivity of it being invite-only. Some people have been spotted selling the app invites on eBay for up to $125 each! 

On the downside, the app is currently only available on Apple, but an Android version is stated to be in development.

Despite this restriction, the app has seen rapid growth which is why investors are watching closely; the app recently raised a new funding round on a $1 billion valuation. 

Will Clubhouse change the face of Social Media in 2021? We’ll keep our eyes open… or maybe our ears?

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