There’s a new app in town and its creeping up the app charts as it blooms in popularity.
Could it be the antidote to lockdown loneliness and the desire to connect after a year of networking drought amongst the business community?
Clubhouse requires a nomination or referral from an existing member via their in-app invite list, or you can sit on a waiting list to get vetted by their team to bag a username, so get buttering up your friends who are on the app, they might just give you one of their limited golden tickets.
This Soho House style, member-get-member growth hack and exclusivity-tinged approach to community really drives desire amongst friends and colleagues to learn more and want to share the app once you have the keys to the door. It might be that there isn’t much going on in my personal life at the moment – I get excited about the weekly shop these days – but I was excited when I received the notification to know I was invited to join by a member of the community.
The combination of App-FOMO and kudos of being able to extend the golden tickets to your network is a power-move to grow a relevant and engaged base for the app. There’s also an element of community moderation in this approach as the person who nominated you stays on your profile, a social media safety net to ensure members don’t misbehave on the platform by policing behaviour through those that know and endorse them.
Also, sorry Android users, its only available on iPhone at the moment.
So…what is Clubhouse?
They categorise themselves as a new type of social network using voice rather than the usual image and video supported by text that we have become accustomed to thumbing at all available moments of the day including second screening in the evening.
I described it as a podcast mixed with a live conference panel mixed with a WhatsApp voice note group of people you don’t know.
Members are able to host their own room with the topic of their choice with other members, and by other members I mean anyone on the platform to drop in. Rooms can be made private and by invitation only if you want to keep things limited.
Attendees listen in to the rooms speakers, hosted by moderators and raise their hands to join the stage to speak from a holding-pen on the apps screen, aka the audience.
The chat is managed by this host of the sessions, with attendees having the opportunity to chip with their point of view.
Those who aren’t that actively engaged, or shy, have the opportunity to listen on topics in rooms.
On setting up your profile you are asked to select from a long, and by long I mean long, list of interests. Hand over your data, they’ll be able to segment you later by your connections and listening habits.
There’s a calendar of pre-scheduled rooms based on this list and who you are or aren’t connected to. It very easily links with your calendars so you can be reminded when to join or schedule attendance into your day.
The schedule of room topics is varied, but there’s a lot of click-bait in the app at the moment around making millions and entrepreneurial self-optimisation. I attended a session about desk snacks on the platform which went from one recommendation for dried mango (organic, naturally), to experiments with nootropics after a stint on prescription drug Adderall, not recommended for coherent emails.
I have however joined sessions that are both interesting and valuable, talking about trending news topics for the day amongst social, digital and communications professionals. Social media tips from a group of social media managers with different backgrounds and perspectives with quick fire analysis of SME social.
Clubhouse is all about self-promotion at the moment, with people sharing their own expertise and hot takes on ‘of the moment’ topics.
Clubhouse is set up for executive profile and personal brand building for those looking to extend their reach or widen their knowledge by listening in. As with all social networking apps and networks the community will drive the content and there may be some interesting creative applications to the app on the horizon. I’m imagining a major integration with LinkedIn or twitter and their recent foray into audio tweets.
Clubhouse is tapping into something that we are all (is it just me?) longing for at the moment; watercooler chat about new news and serendipitous connections that we are all so desperately craving in a pandemic world. The familiar echo chamber of the social giants is out of the window here with the happen stance nature of people coming into rooms to share.
Can’t wait to see how the app develops in the coming months.