Clubhouse – what is it and should you be on it?
If you aren’t yet familiar with Clubhouse, you’re not alone.
While you may have heard whisperings, many have not yet had an opportunity to use this fast-growing new social network, either because they don’t have an Apple device – though Android support is coming soon – or because they haven’t yet received a coveted invite. Clubhouse’s tactic of cutting out around 65% of the world’s mobile phone users allows it to throttle its own growth and add to the exclusivity of the invite system.
Clubhouse’s key attribute is what sets it apart from the established social media behemoths – it’s audio only. Combining the structure of old-school chat rooms with the best parts of talk-radio and podcasts, Clubhouse brings peer-to-peer, authentic conversations to life with the immediacy and emotion of the human voice.
Whereas current social media streams require “content” which can be altered, adjusted and perfected before it is released, Clubhouse taps into the creativity, intimacy and authenticity that can only come with live conversations. It has arrived at a perfect time; while other platforms are being scrutinised for their lack of transparency, Clubhouse has no place to hide behind filters or sponsored posts.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Think of it as a live, interactive podcast where you and your friends or colleagues can share your thoughts, ideas and expertise and the audience can interact, ask questions and even join you on “stage”. Anyone can start their own room at the click of a button from the main screen – they can be public or private and can cover any subject.
Once you have scored yourself an invite and registered, the app is sparse and simple to navigate; enter your details and tell the app what topics and conversations you might be interested in and you’re set.
Opening the app (“entering the Clubhouse”) puts you in the “hallway”. From here you can see a number of “rooms” that are currently in progress, with the titles displayed to pique your interest. Scroll down to find one that sounds interesting and tap on it to enter. If there’s nothing you want to participate in at that time, tap on the calendar at the top to see what talks are upcoming around the topics you have picked.
Once you are in a room you can sit quietly in the audience and listen, raise your hand to ask a question, or join the conversation. If the people running the room want to hear your question or input, they’ll bring you up onto the stage and you can unmute your microphone and dive in.
Click on participants’ photos to see their bio and to follow them on Instagram and Twitter and see what “Clubs” they are in (collectives around themes you can follow to see all the rooms the club runs). Once the room closes the conversation stops and nothing is left behind, so if you miss it, you miss out.
WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
Exclusivity and some high-profile early adopters have helped generate a buzz about the app, but it wouldn’t be thriving if it were without substance. The “rooms” can be interviews or panel events covering any and every topic you can think of; and the message is very much “if you can’t find it, start it”.
The current user base of around two million is a diverse mix of entrepreneurs including Elon Musk and Dan Priestly, investors, entertainers such as Oprah Winfrey and Drake, actors like Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Hart, and doctors, nurses, marketeers and more. The intimacy and authenticity of live conversations is almost addictive.
You can hear people’s tone of voice, their emotion and personality in a way that other media doesn’t allow. Jokes, sarcasm and passion are all more apparent, as is the participants’ level of knowledge, so “fakers” are more easily weeded out.
The serendipity of this app is talked about in every article you’ll read about it; you can wander the hallway dropping in on conversations about everything from health tech to high art, or an investor or entrepreneur may drop into your conversation, someone with exactly the right spark to take your idea to the next level. Audio content such as podcasts and audiobooks allow us to carry on with other activities while soaking up knowledge, opinions and expertise.
In this way, Clubhouse is a perfect background social network. Finally, it is a true “social” network; you can invite your colleagues up onto the stage, make everyone a speaker and get true social interaction. It’s like being in the bar after a conference but you can chat to anyone in there, one person at a time – modern day networking for the Covid era.
WHY SHOULD I GET INVOLVED?
You can listen in on real-time conversations between people who inspire you and discuss ideas and concepts that fire your imagination. You can hear from people directly, allowing for more empathy and understanding to help you grow on both personal and business-owner levels.
At any given moment there are many like-minded individuals to be found on the platform, allowing for networking, sharing of expertise and knowledge, bouncing around of ideas, and much more. You may discover a misfire from someone else that is exactly the spark your next idea requires.
Additionally, the opportunity to hear from experts on subjects that are new to you – be it marketing, accounting or skincare – allows you to improve your knowledge moving forward.
Right now, Clubhouse is still growing and represents the opportunity of a virtual land grab; establishing yourself early on as an expert is easier when there is less background noise. Societally we’re craving unity, human contact, honesty and privacy.
Clubhouse provides a way to connect with like-minded individuals with expertise across a wide range of subjects, enabling a plurality of human voices to interact and connect. The live, audio-only format begets honesty and transparency while allowing us to maintain our privacy if required.
WHERE IS IT HEADED?
Whether we’ll still be talking about Clubhouse this time next year remains to be seen, but with a user base that has grown from 100,000 late last year to two million by March 2021 and a current valuation of around USD$1 billion, the future looks bright.
At the moment, Clubhouse is very much a business-to-business, expert-to- expert medium, but as it expands the opportunity to interact with customers live, with immediate questions and feedback will grow, allowing you to showcase your knowledge and become the go-to expert in your field.
Plus, the ability to record rooms for future learning is coming soon. The honesty, authenticity and democratising nature of this audio only platform has entranced me. It is the users who create the environment and thus far it is one of collaboration over competition, advice over adversity.
By starting small – with the correct mix of people – and building slowly, the inclusive culture that developed at the start has permeated throughout Clubhouse, resulting in a nurturing environment. At Novellus Aesthetics we were so interested in the app that we now host an open forum every Thursday evening on Clubhouse called Aesthetics: Under the Skin, which also now has its own club.
If you ask nicely, we may have a spare invite. Humans have always felt the need to interact socially and audio has been our chosen medium for the majority of that time. Clubhouse may just represent the newest version of a digital campfire.
Dr Steven Land has 19 years’ experience specialising in emergency medicine. He launched Novellus Aesthetics, a multi award-winning clinic in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, seven years ago. Dr Land also recently established Novellus Aesthetics and Beauty Training Academy to share his expertise and train fellow medical professionals at the highest standard.
Ness Griffiths is a nurse practitioner and has spent nine years in intensive treatment units, emergency departments and emergency care. She started her aesthetics journey four years ago. She is an aesthetic nurse at Novellus Aesthetics where she works alongside Dr Land, whom she co-hosts the Aesthetics: Under the Skin room with every week on Clubhouse.