The future of Clubhouse

I thought it would be fun to think about what Clubhouse will look like in the future. These are simply ideas rather than what I think should or shouldn’t happen. This post has been in the drafts for a few months and so some of these ideas may have already been implemented or been announced as future updates.

Paying the host

Paying to enter a room in the same way that we pay to enter clubs or events is something I consider likely to happen. It could be paying a set amount but it could also be more of a tipping feature where the room is free but tha audience are able to tip if they’ve enjoyed the room.

It would be interesting to see who uses the feature. I definitely think celebrities and influencers would be critisiced for using it because it could be seen as taking advantage particulary if they don’t have much to offer in terms of the quality of what is being spoken about. If clubhouse took a fee per payment, it could become a way for the app to generate money.

A payment feature was announced in April 2021 and creators will get 100% of the earnings.

Room membership

Similarly to the above, I think clubhouse could introduce some sort of membership for a room. This could involve a payment of X amount per month for X months. This could be used for online communities where the person leading gives monthly talks or holds weekly group discussions. It could be used by groups already existing outside of the app as an alternative to Zoom or Teams.

Recording rooms

I think there’s a possibility of being able to to record the audio within the app but I think that this would take away from the appeal and exclusivity. If you can just listen to it later then why would you bother to show up live? I can see there being issues with this such as less people showing up live or people taking the recording and posting it on YouTube.

Some other ideas for this feature would be restrictions on how long you can record the conversation and people having to pay to access the audio. This could be a one off payment per file or implemented into the premium version of the app that requires a monthly payment.

More visuals

Another idea is to add more visual aspects to the app. This could be by having more pictures or allowing for video content. However, I think there is a risk that this would weaken the USP of the app because audio only was innovative and we already have Instagram for visual content.

Direct Messaging

Similar to what is already available on Instagram, Twitter and most other social media. Implementing a direct messaging feature is great way to increase the use of an app, if users use it to communicate with people they follow. Due to the type of app that clubhouse is I think the majority of people use it to listen to people that they don’t personally know so a messaging feature may be of little value. In contrast, for social media such as Twitter or Instagram where people can have private accounts and only follow family and friends direct messaging is considered useful.

Increase accessibility

Lastly allowing more people to use the app. One of the main ways is extending the app to android users which finally happened a few days ago. Another way is to no longer have the app be invite only. I think this was useful when the app was being portrayed as exclusive but if the creators want to grow the app, the invite only aspect doesn’t really help with that. Although I think there are likely to be other reasons to keep that aspect such as collecting the data of how the users are connected

On a different note but still on the topic of accessibility, another feature could be to have audio captions to make it usable for those with hearing impairments. However, I think this could come with some issues if people speak over each other or if people don’t speak clearly the captions may be highly inaccurate which would reduce the experience. On the flipside, Clubhouse app could be considered as accessible to those with visual impairments as they don’t miss out on any imagery like they would on a YouTube video, IGTV or Instagram live.

Clubhouse probably won’t become the next Instagram

We already have Instagram, it can’t be replaced.

It’s more likely that other apps will copy it and it will die out or become less popular, like snapchat.

When it comes to the growth and longevity of Clubhouse, there is a lot to be considered.

Firstly, there is likely to be a period of rapid growth once it becomes available for android. However, when it comes to longevity in the next 3 months, 6 months or even a year I think that things are much less certain.

Once the app becomes more easily available the amount of users will increase for a period of time as people that didn’t previously get access can now join and see what the hype was about. There is likely to then be a decline in users as some will lose interest in the app after a few weeks.

In terms of how long the app will last, unless we all become addicted like how we are with Instagram I think it will be a question of ‘Is what I gain from this going to be worth more than the time that ends up being wasted?’ or ‘Is what I can gain from this different from what I already have access to through youtube, podcasts, IGTV, books, articles etc? and lastly ‘Is what I can gain for this better than the alternatives on apps I’m already familiar with?’

I think there is something to be said about being on the cusp, on showing up in the early stages because you’re interested, not just because something is trendy or popular.

The reason why I think clubhouse is such a big deal is because it’s very rare for a new social media app to show up and gain such traction in such a short space of time, especially because it has resulted in 2 of the biggest social media apps to add a similar features so that they can compete.

I also think it’s great that there are so much options for what you could do with the app: read a play, discuss pop culture, live podcast, talk show, etc that it can appeal to a range of age groups.

I’m looking forward to see how the app grows and develops in the future. Will it last, will Twitter/Instagram/Discord alternatives force it to die out as people already have followings on those platforms? But also what new features will it have and once things go back to ‘normal’ will we still be interested?

Why Clubhouse is so appealing?

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?

Why podcasts have become so popular?

Now we all know that podcasts are nothing new but if you’ve payed attention over the past few years you’ll have seen that there’s been an insurgence in podcasts.

They’ve become the cool thing.

Not only are more people listening to them but more people are creating them too.

I think the rise of podasts is down to their simplicty of being a recorded conversation discussing various topics.

A podcast could be one person talking about something for 20 minutes, it could be 3 people discussing dating, relationships and popular topics from social media or it could be one person interviewing different guests each week to talk about the work they do.

Even though many podcasts are now have visual content or perhaps the podcasters have their photos in the logo, the essence of a podcast means there’s no focus on what you look like, instead it’s all about what you say.

Podcasts also require much less effort from the consumer when compared to blog posts or YouTube videos. You can listen on your journey to work, whilst cleaning or cooking dinner, whilst you go for a walk infact you can listen whilst doing almost anything.

In contrast, visual forms of media require more attention. You can’t watch a youtube video whilst driving or going for a walk, you can’t read a blog post whilst doing these things either.

Podcasts can be entertaining and educational. They allow the listener to connect in a way that can’t quite be compared to a blog post or video content.

Hearing someones voice feels personal yet not having visuals allows you to create some distance between the creator and the consumer.

You don’t get swept up in what the person looks like, if you like they’re outfit, if their nails look good etc. These things can end up playing a large role in how content is received e.g. you’re more interested in content because of how the person looks.

But also before we had phones, computers, YouTube, blogs, tv, radio, newspapers, magazines and even letters, we just had our voices. And of course at that point in time they weren’t being recorded and edited but talking is one of the first forms of communications, podcasts tap into that.

Podcasts have been around since the 80s but there was a lot of time when they weren’t popular and definitely weren’t at the forefront of media like they are today.

I believe the popularity of podcasts to be down to the evolution of media, things change. For example, we’re not buying magazines or reading blogs like we used to. I also think celebrities and well known people have also helped the podcasting world grow because they have fans all over the globe that are more than eager to hear what they have to say in a casual setting rather than a formal interview.

Lastly, people building their own small communities from their podcasts. As much as you can have a celebrity podcast with 10,000 listens per episode you can also have hundreds or thousands of podcasts with 5-500 listens per episode. The numbers might not be high but they add up.

The final point is that people have started making money from podcasts, enough to live off of. This draws the attention and curiosity of many people because podcasting is no longer just a fun thing people do but instead a way to earn a living.

When the numbers get you down

I try not to look at the stats very often because I never want to be too attached to the numbers.

Of course it feels great when the numbers are high, when you’re getting lots of likes, comments and new followers. But when the numbers drop and you’re not seeing as many likes or views than you were getting for previous months, it can be disheartening.

One of the only ways to avoid this is to stop focusing on the numbers. Don’t allow the numbers to get you down.

Sometimes it can feel like you’re trying really hard and dedicating time but the numbers don’t reflect that. But, I feel like so often we forget or overlook one of the most important things when it comes to creating something and putting it out.

You have control over how and what you create, then putting it out for consumption. Its the customers, viewers or readers that are in control of the numbers, consuming your work and choosing to pass it on. You might be able to encourage it but ultimately it’s out of your control.

Why I stopped listening to my favourite podcasts?

Over the past couple of months I have become more and more aware of all the thoughts and opinions of others that I consume each day.

If you also use social media and regularly consume content such as podcasts or YouTube videos then chances are, you’ve felt it too.

I had began to find that even though podcasts, Twitter and Instagram were a regularly part of my routine, I wasn’t really enjoying them the way I used to.

And this had nothing to do with the people I was following or listening to as their content hadn’t really changed. It was more that I had changed. I decided that, even if it was just a temporary thing, I wanted to honour the fact that at that point in time, I wanted something different.

So, I logged out of my social media accounts and I stopped listening to the podcasts that were once my favourites. That gave me room to explore new things and spend time listening to podcasts that I enjoy rather than simply listening out of habit or familiarity.

Entertaining and addictive

The thing about social media is that it’s great when you’re on it. It’s entertaining, it’s addictive.

It’s so much of those things that I find myself thinking, I’ll feel like I’m missing out if I take a break.

When you’re logged into social media it can feel like you need to check it 20 times a day. Even though you know there is nothing there that you need to see, the apps are designed in a way to keep you coming back.

And so you check the app again and again even if you don’t really have a reason to.

Checking social media multiple times a day means you’re constantly taking in other peoples stuff. It could be a useful infographic, educational twitter thread or a new recipe to try on IGTV. However, it could also be celebrity gossip, peoples thoughts on relationships or people making fun of someone.

That’s why I think logging out is so important. It allows you to disconnect from distractions and might even remind you that you don’t it as much as you think you do.

That probably won’t mean quitting all social media for good but instead simply using it less.

Reasons to log out

Every so often I log out of social media.

I do it to remind myself that I don’t need to use it as much as I think I do.

I do it to free up space in my mind for my own thoughts and opinions.

I do it so that I can spend my free time doing other things that will be more fulfilling.

And when sometime passes and I choose to log back in, I am always reminded that if I’m not mindful I can end up wasting a lot of time and energy.

Instagram ads

Instagram is full of ads that often don’t seem like the ads we’re used to seeing in traditional media. In between the nature photography and selfies there are photos of products and even more products.

It’s at a point where we almost forget that we’re constantly being shown things to buy.

It’s the same way tv ads worked but it’s much cheaper and many of us even do it for free.

Restoring the balance

YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts and blogs.

We have the opportunity to take in a lot of information every single day to the point where we can become overloaded.

But more importantly a lot of this information is other people’s thoughts, opinions or just things we don’t need to know or don’t benefit us.

I think online content is great in moderation but if you find yourself at a point where it feels like too much, the best thing to do is reduce your consumption.

That could mean unfollowing, unsubscribing, logging out, taking a break or setting a time limit.

You need to do those things for long enough so that you can restore the balance between online and offline or creation and consumption.

The balance should always be in your favour so create more than you consume or be offline more than you’re online.