I think I first heard about Clubhouse in November 2020 but as an Android user I knew that it wouldn’t be
something that I would have access to.
I also didn’t personally know anyone that used it.
But over the past 6 months it has grown rapidly.
I initially heard about Clubhouse on Twitter, people with access to the app would be on Twitter commenting on the rooms that they were in. From what I saw it seemed to vary from useful business related discussions to ‘rooms’ full of people venting about those they dislike.
In the months that have followed, I’ve seen more and more people that I follow online joining Clubhouse. I’ve also read a lot of articles sharing what Clubhouse is but also more in-depth ones discussing how it could change in the future and how long it’s popularity will last.
A woman I follow on Instagram that runs a buisness shared that she was hosting a room where they’d be discussing gaining funding for startups and also working in PR.
I’ve also heard someone on a podcast explain that they had the app for a short while but have now deleted it. They found themselves getting sucked into the kinds of rooms that were focused on drama rather than listening to things that were useful.
Another woman I follow on Instagram mentioned that she thought it was a really good app idea. She thought it would be a good place to have conversations within a closed community.
I’ve found seeing how this app has come along, how it’s used and how it’s grown incredibly interesting. I think clubhouse showed up in the right place at the right time and it appealed to people in multiple ways.
It’s an evolution of podcasts
Firstly, Clubhouse is like an evolution of podcasts, a type of content that has really grown over the past few years in terms of people listening to them but also more people creating them.
I think what we like about podcasts is that they’re fairly simple, it’s just people talking. You get to listen in on a conversation or monologue and maybe even learn something new. The fact that Clubhouse is in an audio format means you can listen whilst you go for a walk, do the washing up or make dinner without missing out on any visuals.
Clubhouse is stripped back
Secondly, Clubhouse showed up without bells and whistles, it’s stripped back. From what I know, you have the rooms, the hosts and you can follow people and be followed and the content is live. Whatever happens in the moment happens, there’s no editing it out. Of course those hosting may come with notes of the points they want to make, particularly if they’re there to teach and share knowledge but they could also be in their pajamas.
In contrast, podcast are a little more polished because as much as you might be having a casual conversation you probably don’t just say ‘okay, lets press record’ and see how it goes. And when compared to Instagram live which is also live content, the fact that you can see the person changes things.
I think the simplicity of just being audio focused allowed Clubhouse to stand out as most other popular social media apps have much more variation (Instagram has Lives, IGTV, Reels, feed images and videos, Guides and Stories) although it is worth noting that they didn’t start out that way.
A sense of exclusivity
The third and final appeal that is perhaps the most prominent factor is that you have to be invited. I think it’s interesting to think about how Clubhouse is sometimes paraded online as this exclusive app that you have to be invited into, yet everyone seems to have it.
According to an article dated 22 February 2021, Clubhouse now has 10million users which is around 0.13% of the global population. However, I still don’t think it can be considered exclusive as anyone can be invited (as long as you have an iPhone) and their is no criteria to join.
In relation to the idea of exclusivity, I think for some people knowing celebrities/well known people are on the app is part of the appeal because you get the chance to hear them talk in a more causal setting. I know a little while ago Elon Musk popped up in a room which drove a lot of attention to the room but also just the app in general. Now joining the app means you’re in the same ‘space’ as someone like Elon Musk (A famous Billionaire and Entrepreneur).
The other exclusivity aspect is that the audio is not recorded which means you really had to be there. I think there is a lot of value in that because these days with everything being recorded people end up being reluctant to show up in the moment.
Do you have Clubhouse and if so, what aspect of it appealed to you?