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What is clubhouse?

Amy Arora @_amyarora

Since launching a year ago, the drop-in audio chat app has exploded in popularity. So, what exactly is all the fuss about? And how can you use Clubhouse as part of your business strategy?

We love social media. Of course, we do. We are Naturally Social, after all. However, even we sighed a little when we heard that there was another social media app in town.  It was difficult to imagine how yet another app could do something different. We already have political opinions on Twitter, perfectly-crafted images on Instagram, cat videos on Facebook… What more could we need?

Enter Clubhouse.

Clubhouse truly is an app with a difference. Developed by Silicon Valley whizz-kids Paul Davison and Rohan Seth after nearly a decade of trying and failing with various other social apps, Clubhouse was created with a different vision in mind.

Davison and Seth say: “Our north star was to create something where you could close the app at the end of the session feeling better than you did when you opened it, because you had deepened friendships, met new people and learned”.

Social media with a message? Converting conversations into impact? That sounds right up our street.

So, what is it then?

Clubhouse is all about the voice – and only the voice. There are no videos and no posts; the only visual is your profile picture. After a year of staring at ourselves on Zoom (and desperately missing our hairdressers), the lack of a camera is quite welcome.

Instead of seeing anyone, you can simply browse through different “rooms” where different conversations, interviews, presentations and panel discussions are taking place. When you see a topic that catches your interest, you can jump into the room as an audience member and listen in. You can raise your hand and get involved too – if that is something that takes your fancy.

Given the enormous popularity of podcasts, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a format like this works so well. As an audience member you can choose to be passive: to listen, learn, and be entertained.

However, don’t expect the polish of your favourite podcasts. These conversations are much rougher around the edges. They are unedited, natural discussions – like we might have had in the pub before the pandemic – but with a huge variety of interesting people from all walks of life.

A host of celebrities are already using Clubhouse, ranging from Kevin Hart to Tiffany Haddish to Jordin Sparks. Even Elon Musk took a break from trying to colonise the Moon to jump on to the app and share his views on life, the pandemic and SpaceX. Mixing with the rich and famous might be part of Clubhouse’s appeal, and you are more likely to encounter authenticity than airbrushing on this particular app.

“Social media can often make us feel lonely, and this bucks the trend… It allows full-length, nuanced and unfiltered conversations from a wealth of intelligent people”.
Author and podcaster Francesca Specter has fallen in love with Clubhouse for several reasons: “Social media can often make us feel lonely, and this bucks the trend… It allows full-length, nuanced and unfiltered conversations from a wealth of intelligent people”.

I’m sold! Sign me up…  

Not so fast! Clubhouse is currently an invite-only platform which has led to some claims of pretentiousness and exclusivity surrounding the app. However, Davison and Seth are insistent that they simply want to launch slowly. Although there are already two million users, this is a drop in the ocean compared with the other social media giants. So, if you want to use Clubhouse, make sure you sign up to see if you have friends already on there who can open the door for you.

If you are an Android user, you will need to be prepared to wait a bit longer. At the moment, Clubhouse is only available on IOS (see the previous sentence about that slow launch…), but an Android app is in development.

You seem to really like Clubhouse. Are there any downsides?

As far as we can see, the developers of Clubhouse are very committed to making sure that it is a safe space, in line with their mission that the app should make you feel better, not worse. That being said, there have been some instances of racism and hate speech on the platform, and community moderation guidelines were introduced in October 2020.

The slow launch does mean that the developers can keep a closer eye on the running of the app and take action when required. Our view is that trolls are everywhere, but perhaps those who are on Clubhouse won’t last too long.

How can I use Clubhouse in my business strategy?

Clubhouse can be a great tool for building and promoting your business – as long as you are prepared to think outside of the box. Think of this as old-fashioned, pre-internet era networking… on the internet. That you can do in your pyjamas.

This is your opportunity to connect with people who you may never have had the chance to meet before. You can share knowledge and expertise and you can even find creative ways to tell the story of your brand.

You could even use Clubhouse to track down the right people to come and work on your team. That’s high-tech HR right there!

The thing we like most though is that the connections on Clubhouse are designed to be genuine and empathetic. Real emotions are difficult to hide – and your conversations are live. We believe that this is great for businesses. It means those enterprising deals will have more heart and are therefore far more likely to succeed.

Are you interested in using Clubhouse as part of your social media strategy? Talk to us about how you can Upgrade Your Social.

Confused by why clubhouse is and still grappling with TikTok? Our blog last year can help you understand that channel too! 

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