A few months ago, if you’d ask me about the future of social media and how this universe can expand, I would have probably responded that there is nothing you can do to innovate in this area, that anything that you can imagine is already here and available to us, a mouse-click or a swipe distance away.
Even if in 2015 I wrote about the idea that Facebook should bring audio content in their feed, I wasn’t very convinced that something new can happen in the social media industry.
I was wrong.
There’s always room for more and Clubhouse proved me wrong.
And these stats will make you think about why Clubhouse is such a big deal (source Exploding Topics)
But what is this new app and why is it something worth writing about?
What is Clubhouse?
Imagine a world where you could get an app and listen to people’s live conversations. Or, be a part of them. Can such a thing be real without invading the privacy of one another? Can this be a real thing without being creepy at all?
Well, if you are a little bit older, you may probably remember the old chat rooms that were fully available and quite popular 20 years ago.
They were the places you could go to start a conversation with friends or strangers, take part in a conversation that was already going, or just read what people were saying and thinking.
Clubhouse does the same thing but on another level. Now, the chat room is not only live but in audio format.
So, you really get to listen and talk to people from all corners of the world.
Clubhouse is an audio-based social media platform that features live audio rooms people can access and engage with peers, friends, colleagues, or whomever they might be interested in listening to or talking to at that moment.
The platform was founded by Rohan Seth and Paul Davison in April 2020 and can be accessed only via invitation from another member of the community.
It can accommodate groups of up to 5000 people.
Does Clubhouse matter?
These days, when we are facing so many choices regarding communication and social interaction, it may be quite hard to navigate the net of social media channels and choose your favorite.
Inherently, one would ask: Why trying something new when I already have a strong sense of community on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever channel they use? Why does this matter? What is so special about it to convince me to at least try it?
Well, for starters, Clubhouse is new. This means that there is a lot of development still going on. Also, the app is still on a closed beta version, there are no more than a few million users using it which makes it the perfect ground for testing marketing strategies and get better at them while the channel evolves and opens for the public.
Another important thing is the fact that a lot of influencers are already on Clubhouse including Oprah Winfrey or Ashton Kutcher.
Therefore, whether you are trying new forms of marketing, trying to find the next big thing on social media or just trying to connect with people you want to listen to or take advice from, this channel may be quite useful in the short and long run.
You cannot send direct messages; this feature is not available. However, you can just connect and access any room you want and join the conversation.
Where can I get Clubhouse?
Well, the truth is that while the app is available on iOS and any iPhone user can download it, you cannot just sign up and join in. You need an invitation from an existing Clubhouse member to get in for the first time.
However, every new user gets two invites so, you can only hope that one of your friends or peers will invite you to join.
What about the Android version?
This one is still in the works. In other words, it is not yet released and this is probably due to a large number of people using Android devices around the world.
Clubhouse developers wanted to scale up slowly and not risk killing their servers due to a huge number of newcomers.
How does the app work?
When you first get access to the app, you will see a page of full topics you can follow. The more topics and people you follow, the more likely is to get suggestions with rooms you actually like.
And this is how we got to Rooms.
As I already mentioned, Chat Rooms are the core of Clubhouse. There are no pictures, no videos shared between the users.
The rooms are audio-based only.
How do you access a chat room?
It’s quite easy. When you see a room, just click on it in order to access it right away.
Each one of them has one or more moderators that usually lead the conversation.
…but can I create one?
Yes, you can create a private chat room just as easily as joining one. All you need to do is access the little dot icon available on the lower right corner of the screen. And of course, invite people to your newly created private room and start talking.
In order to start the room, simply click on the green “Start a room” button. You can as well schedule a room in advance, by using the calendar icon and just add the details of your future discussion.
A room is nothing without the group to converse on a specific topic. However, when you will join a room, the first thing you’ll notice will be clear segregation between people who can and cannot speak. The people with permission to speak are the so-called ‘stage’.
You will see them highlighted at the top of the room. You will also notice a lot of people with muted microphone icons on the bottom right corner of their profile image. And this is because there is an unwritten rule on Clubhouse that people who are not actively engaged in the conversation to mute their microphones.
They make up the audience of the chat room.
…but, can I join the conversation if muted?
Well yes, but it depends on the moderator. When you join a chat room, you’ll be muted by default. You can, however, raise your hand and ask for permission to join the conversation.
Just click the hand icon available on the screen next to the “+” button. The moderator can then put you on the stage.
Setting up the Clubhouse profile
There are two main steps here, once you get an invitation and start setting up your profile: adding a picture and filling up your bio.
The profile picture, however, is the most important part of this section. Why? Because this is what people see – and your name, of course – when you pop up into a chat room or shares a room with you.
The next step should be filling up your bio. Unlike other social media platforms, here, you can write a lot of stuff, and sometimes, this can be tricky if you don’t know how to extract the essentials. No one will read a novel about you and this is why I recommend a short description in which you should list your biggest achievements and the projects you are currently working on.
Remember though that only a snippet of the bio will be shown by default. So, use the first sentence to describe yourself as well as you can.
Add links to your other social media profiles
At this moment, Clubhouse does not allow links in your profile. Therefore, you cannot advertise your websites.
However, you can connect with your Instagram and Twitter profiles and get those links on your Clubhouse page. People can visit your social media pages, get to better know you, and why not, access your websites from there.
Expand your society. Get followers
As one would expect from a social media and communication platform, the key to success is getting more people to listen and follow you.
How can you do that?
Well, that’s the trickiest part since Clubhouse is not yet open for the public. However, chances are, that some of your peers are already on the platform chatting with each other.
Therefore, the best way to get more followers is to make an official announcement that you have finally joined Clubhouse. You can announce it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any other social media channel you are currently using.
You can as well get together with other friends or colleagues that use the platform and choose to co-host rooms. Some of the people who are currently following them will most likely follow you as well, providing you are a good host and have something valuable to say/discuss.
Or, last but not least, you can join a club and become part of a closed community of people who share a specific interest. If you start or join a club and host a room through it, all members of the club will be notified about your room. Not to mention that clubs can be followed just as individual profiles are. Thus, if members of your club have a little bit more influence than you on the platform, chances are that they have a lot of followers as well.
There are and always be new social media platforms and new channels to try to surface and prove to us something. Some will be successful while others will not. Few are however as innovative as Clubhouse, a platform that managed to come with something new in a world where few people believed such a thing would even be possible.
The idea is old, chat rooms have existed since the pioneering days of the Internet but their implementation not.
And the idea seemed to have been materialized at the right time, in the right context, where people spend more and more time engaged with audio content.
What do you think about Clubhouse and what are your first impressions of it?