- Clubhouse is a voice-only social media platform that facilitates informal—yet remarkably rich—conversations.
- Instead of typing something and hitting Send, Clubhouse users are engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue with others.
- Content marketer Cat Johnson likens Clubhouse to live podcasting. In this article, Cat explains the good, the bad, and the unlimited interactive potential of Clubhouse.
Clubhouse might be a gamechanger.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry. Most people don’t.
As of a few weeks ago, I didn’t either.
On December 31, I was
doomscrolling doing some research when I saw a friend’s post about Clubhouse. I had seen the app mentioned a number of times before and decided to finally figure out what it was.
I downloaded the app, reserved my handle (@catjohnson) and got on the waiting list. A moment later I was alerted that a friend in my contacts had bumped me to the top of the list and I was in. Not long after that, I was inside a Clubhouse “room” talking with a friend. After she gave me the overview, I jumped in and listened to a conversation about creating marketing funnels, led by some people I’ve followed and admired for years.
I was hooked. I’ve since listened and participated in 20 or so conversations about marketing, LinkedIn, coworking, music, creating a more connected and equitable world, creativity, language and more.
What’s the deal with Clubhouse? Let’s break it down.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is a voice-only platform that facilitates informal—yet remarkably rich—conversations. I’ve been in one-on-one Clubhouse rooms and I’ve been in rooms with thousands of people.
I’ve shared marketing and strategy tips, I’ve upvoted DJs and emcees I like, I’ve listened in on Clubhouse townhalls, I’ve shared my thoughts on LinkedIn content, and I laid on the couch, thoroughly engrossed in a collaborative storytelling exercise, for more than an hour.
The official description of Clubhouse is a “new type of network based on voice.”
Within that parameter lies a world of potential and possibility. The app is new (it’s currently iPhone only) and one of the most appealing features is that it is actively being defined by the global community of people using it.
The Clubhouse Hallway
Clubhouse is likened to walking down a hallway where interesting (or not) conversations are taking place in every room. I’ve described one aspect of it as live podcasting—with unlimited interactive potential.
In a Clubhouse room, anyone can be called up to share their thoughts, tips or perspectives. Some rooms are expert panels, some are open conversations.
The Clubhouse website describes it as “a place to meet with friends and with new people around the world—to tell stories, ask questions, debate, learn, and have impromptu conversations on thousands of different topics.”
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The team stresses that the app is voice-only by design:
“[W]e think voice is a very special medium. With no camera on, you don’t have to worry about eye contact, what you’re wearing, or where you are. You can talk on Clubhouse while you’re folding laundry, breastfeeding, commuting, working on your couch in the basement, or going for a run. Instead of typing something and hitting Send, you’re engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue with others.”
The team was drawn to this medium specifically for its potential to deepen understanding between people. As the website explains, “The intonation, inflection and emotion conveyed through voice allow you to pick up on nuance and form uniquely human connections with others. You can still challenge each other and have tough conversations—but with voice there is often an ability to build more empathy.”
Once you’re in Clubhouse, you can host or join rooms. You also have the option to create a club, which allows you to have members who can all host on-topic rooms under the club name. However, there is a backlog of club requests so they ask that you host three rooms on the topic you’d like to create a club around, before requesting a club name.
The Good and the Bad
At its purest, Clubhouse is a connection and knowledge accelerator. Spend 15 minutes in a good room and your understanding of anything from gut health, to public speaking, to funk music, to photography, to cultural change, to…on and on and on…will be supercharged.
There are thousands of rooms going at any one time. The platform is very human and very cool. So far.
Which brings us to the bad. There are already scammy “Make 6 Million in 6 Months” rooms, and people who raise their hand in rooms simply to pitch their product. Apparently there are Clubhouse trolls who disrupt conversations, though I’ve not (yet) experienced them. The inherent capability of humans to make a mess of things is frustrating but we need to work with what we’ve got.
Discoverability is also an issue. With so many rooms going all the time, it’s impossible to see all your options. You can choose topics that interest you, but they’ve not yet created a good way to see what’s currently happening without rendering the app useless from decision overload.
The last big question/challenge for me is, how are they going to monetize this? Clubhouse is so new and fresh and cool right now. The depth and humanness of some of the conversations is next-level. The idea of ads or paid content being served up is pretty repellant.
I also hope that Facebook doesn’t do a monopolistic gobble and ruin this app. I’m curious to see how it grows; I’m excited to be helping to build the plane as we’re flying it; I’m loving the creative and collaborative energy being poured into it right now; and I have no fewer than 10 ideas for rooms, clubs, shows and panels.
Give Clubhouse a look. Download the app, save your handle, get on the waitlist (you may get bumped right in). It may not be for you, which will save you many hours of your life. If it is for you, however, you’re about to be supercharged into any information wormhole your heart desires, including plenty of rooms around coworking and community-building. See you inside.
Next month, I’ll share more about how workspace operators are using Clubhouse to market, network, and connect their community.