There’s a new club in town and it’s invite-only! Launched in 2020, Clubhouse is the social networking app quickly gaining popularity. The app boasts several high-profile users, from Elon Musk to Oprah. But what exactly is Clubhouse? And is it worth joining?
The only way in is through an invitation from someone you know. Sounds a bit like a weird secret society, right? Well, I wanted to see for myself, especially when someone mentioned how he was in a prayer room and walked straight into a Mankini party – words I thought I would never hear in one sentence! It made me laugh out loud and so my curiosity got the better of me. Here’s my experience of Clubhouse and why it could be worth joining…
How Does Clubhouse Work?
I was recently invited to join Clubhouse, which is only available to download via the iPhone. The developers say they are working on an Android version, although there’s no release date as yet. The app is currently in a beta phase, which is why it is limited to an invite-only membership.
But how does it actually work? The process is quite simple. I got invited through a link sent by one of my contacts. Once I clicked the link, I needed to create a profile. Following this, I was entered into the aptly named “Clubhouse Hallway”. What did I find in this hallway?
Absolute carnage. I was bombarded with multiple rooms for me to join – these are basically chatrooms, but there is no text involved as the app is audio-only. Each room is devoted to a different topic or area of interest. You can enter a room and listen as an audience member, or participate in the conversation. Each room has moderators, who enforce the rules, and one or more speakers.
The Best Bits of Clubhouse
If you can’t find a room that interests you (which would be surprising as there are so many), then you can start your own. Upon creating a room, you will automatically be made a moderator and speaker. As a moderator, you can add or remove speakers if they violate the rules. If you join a room that has already been made available then it is best to check each room’s rules – read them first before you enter.
When you’re in a room, you can listen or speak. People who wish to participate in the conversation can be made a speaker – but only if the moderator accepts their request. The good thing about this is that it brings order to an otherwise chaotic chatroom. If you want to talk, click the emoji to raise your hand. This is part of the etiquette, so you won’t get people speaking over each other. If anyone violates the rules, they are out. In my experience, the “clubbers” were all respectful of each other.
The other great benefit is, of course, the variety of topics and speakers to explore and learn from. Musicians, actors, scientists, tech entrepreneurs – the app houses them all! Learn ways to improve your wellbeing, or discover new ideas in market economics, such as cryptocurrency. Listen to a small business owner share her experience about her start-up, or a rocket engineer on exploring the frontier of space. Whatever your interest, Clubhouse is sure to have it. If it doesn’t, then that’s the time to start your own.
Because of the immense variety of content, you will meet many different people with varying interests from around the world. This is a great way to make friends or increase your business contacts. Just start following people; you’re encouraged to follow those you find interesting. As a result, your Hallway feed will update with new content that best matches your interests.
Should You Join?
If you want to learn and gain insights from people you wouldn’t normally have access to, Clubhouse is the app for you. Connect with celebrities like Kevin Hart and innovators like Elon Musk. It’s a great way to listen or participate in roundtables from the comfort of your own home. With COVID-19 still on the rise, this is particularly advantageous. If you’re a business owner like me,
Clubhouse gives you the opportunity to pitch new ideas or learn from other professionals. In this sense, it’s a bit like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit all rolled into one.
One of the drawbacks, though, is that the only way you can contact others is through Instagram or Twitter direct messaging. There is no messaging service built into the app, as it’s audio-only. Also, the invitation-only requirement severely limits the amount of people who can access the app. According to The New York Times, the app had 600,000 users in December 2020. This number will no doubt increase when the app becomes available without the need for invitations.
Despite the current exclusivity and limited audience, the app can be overwhelming. There’s so much going on, sometimes I didn’t know whether I was coming or going! This is because those you follow will inform you of the rooms that they have started up and will ask you to join too. At one point, I was “clubbing” until the small hours of the morning. So, watch out, it can be very addictive!
The bottom line is this: it’s constant. Have you ever watched the film Limitless? I would say that pretty much matches the high octane involvement you can get yourself into. If you want quality content and access to a diverse mix of topics and speakers, Clubhouse is the place to be. If you’re already a clubber – come and join me! @kikichoda – and if you want a follow – jot your handle on LinkedIn