If you missed the Instagram train, and TikTok is not your pair of slippers, maybe Clubhouse could be the answer to finding your online audience.
What exactly is this new craze-media network everyone keeps rambling about? Here’s the good and bad, and everything in-between.
Thousand people on a conference call is an introvert's worst nightmare
When Clubhouse rolled out, I couldn’t see the appeal. Why would anyone talk to a group of strangers? How do you manage such a conversation? Is there a moderator? What are we even talking about? Gosh — too many questions.
Then, the pandemic knocked humanity into another lockdown, and yearning for meeting new people exploded. And I joined Clubhouse.
What exactly is Clubhouse?
1. Clubhouse is Twitter for podcasts, kind of
Clubhouse is for podcasting, what Twitter is for blogging: an instant way to voice out your message and connect with others.
Zoom without cameras is another comparison that could explain the dynamics of this new social network. Unlike Zoom, Clubhouse is for meetings and work. Users can find a range of topics to join, ranging from “talk to a billionaire” rooms, celebrity introductions, Mee Too discussions, and global politics.
Users can host rooms on a topic of personal interest at any time.
2. You don’t need an iPhone
The app markets itself as iPhone-only, meaning you can only get it from the App Store. However, you don’t need an iPhone to use Clubhouse. I’m using it on my iPad, and it works just fine. Users can use the app on most new iOS devices.
Clubhouse sends out hundreds of notifications, pulling users into highly engaging rooms at any time, so I’m happy to use it on a separate device.
Otherwise, I’d be on Clubhouse all day long.
3. Only Real-time interactions
Clubhouse is for the Now.
Clubhouse rooms happen in real-time, where the audience may get a chance to interact with panelists and possibly celebrities. If you miss the show, you probably won’t be able to catch it later on Youtube. Literally, be there or be square.
I’ve run across a room with James Sommerville, a former Coca-Cola VP of global design. He dropped more wisdom on branding and marketing than I ever got from any podcast to date.
I’ve never heard of James before Clubhouse, and the audio is not public (see #10 for more info on recording rooms.)
4. Perfect way for marketers to generate leads
Marketers have the most fun with the new social app.
The infant platform hits hard on virality. Users are trigger happy with the follow button. Individuals can grow their audience faster than in other social networks.
Savvy marketers acquire potential customers on Clubhouse. Standard funnels include offering a magnet (eBook or an email course) in the bio if the user follows through to other social profiles and websites, which leads to email subscribers and new acquisition channels.
Individuals report 372% higher outreach on Instagram after implementing a Clubhouse funnel.
5. Comedians are finding new clubs to perform
Leah Lamarr, a comedian, explained how new Clubhouse monetization could help her colleagues pay rent this year.
Comedians could safely test their latest material on Clubhouse and potentially charge a cover fee. Clubhouse has announced the monetization system, which could help creators find ways to earn money through paid-only rooms. The platform can take a cut from the cover fees.
6. You may mingle with celebrities
I’ve accidentally come across Joe Rogan’s first Clubhouse appearance. The room was lit. Naval Ravikant, Winestin brothers (scientists), Tim Dillon, and other internet fandom darlings tried to cue Joe in while he fired back with all his guns against Clubhouse.
Joe Rogan thought that Clubhouse would disrupt Podcasting, and he was having a ball with it. Joe is a comedian at heart. I couldn’t say to what degree he was goofing around and to what degree he was honest. I guess we’ll have to find out in another Clubhouse appearance.
Oprah, Beyonce, Mark Zuckerberg, James Altucher, Tiffany Haddish, Lindsay Lohan, and Noelle Chesnut Whitmore are other celebrities that may come up in your feed.
Even if you don’t get to talk in a super-popular room, you’re still in the same time and place with some of the most influential minds on the planet.
7. Host with moderators — here are a few simple rules
Hosting a room sounds scary initially, but it’s actually super fun when you learn a few basic rules.
Moderators usually explain the rules before each event starts. If you’re a speaker, you get on with everything fast. However, new users typically don’t understand how talking works, so here are a few quick standard house rules.
- Explain the rules to the panel.
- Mute your microphone when you’re not talking.
- Don’t offer long-winded answers. Keep it engaging for everyone.
- Ping your followers to join the room.
- Follow the moderator’s questions.
8. Speak with respect
Respecting others should go without saying, but somehow it doesn’t.
A random chap was invited to the stage during my second Clubhouse experience, and he immediately started trolling the room. He tried to pass a joke on buying women, which backfired. Philip Hofmacher reported the guy, and Clubhouse immediately showed him the door. His stunt lasted less than 30 seconds.
The platform hired moderators to help manage abusive comments, following the Taylor Lorenz scandal last July, who’s a TikTok reporter. Room of unhappy VCs mauled (figuratively) the journalist into an abusive corner that soon turned into an all-out attack on media, with some even blaming it for COVID-19. Motherboard obtained the leaked audio, as VICE reports. Wired ran a story, “Where Are the Adults in the Clubhouse,” as the public outcry snowballed, forcing Clubhouse founders to double down on moderation.
“Any social network needs to make moderation a top priority, ” said Davidson, the CEO, while stressing that he wants to preserve free speech and dialogue.
9. Clubhouse invites are a lucrative business
Some people are paying $125 for an invite.
Seriously, if you go to eBay, you may find people selling Clubhouse invites for head-spinning sums of money. Individuals earn $300/day selling invites, according to several Reddit groups.
Clubhouse is lava right now, and everybody wants a piece of it.
New profiles carry the name of a person who let them in and possibly would for a while — urging new users to be careful who they invite for.
10. Recording is no Bueno, but your privacy is still at risk
You can open your notes app and record the whole Clubhouse experience, including the speakers. Recording conversations is technically illegal, and leaking the audio may get you in a land of trouble. Leaks happen all the time, and sometimes for a good reason.
If you’re in a big room, you can count on someone recording the whole thing, so it’s not exactly like any other interaction you have in real-time with strangers.
Your privacy is at risk beyond audio leaks. Individual users could stream content to their private websites, writes BBC.
11. Clubhouse is a massive time investment
If you thought how Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are super time-consuming, you haven’t yet seen Clubhouse.
Everything that makes Clubhouse a great new social network also makes it heavy on the clock. If you’re on stage, you can count on spending at least an hour being glued to your screen. If you stumble upon someone exciting and love to hear what they have to say, you have to commit to staying while they talk in real-time. You can’t pause Clubhouse. It reminds me of trying to explain Dota to my Mom when I was 13, “Mom, I can’t pause the game, gosh.”
Exclusive content is the trade-off for spending hours on the app, and sometimes it’s worth every second you put on.
The nitty-gritty bits
Clubhouse has reached $1 Billion in evaluation in January 2021. With many preaching the new social network, most active users believe it’s the next big thing.
Clubhouse is an app of many onlys: an invite-only, iPhone-only, voice-only, beta-only, and live-only social network app. You can use it on any newer iOS device, and it’s an excellent medium for public discourse.
Marketers are reaching prospects in new ways, and celebrities come daily to talk about their latest books, political opinions, and movie careers.
Keep calm and respect others if you’re using the app. Clubhouse may be precisely what you’re looking for to grow your audience and connect with like-minded people.
Globally and politically, maybe Clubhouse is the missing link that will help us facilitate democracy, open discourse, and find common ground.
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